US Agents Can Seize Laptops at Border

In a move sure to agitate privacy advocates, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed last week that federal agents have now been given the power to seize and detain laptops and certain other electronics without any suspicion of wrongdoing during a border search. In addition, agents can hold these devices for unspecified periods of time, and share data from the laptop with other agencies. The new policy affects anyone entering the country, including US citizens, reported the Washington Post.

The reasoning behind these decisions is clear to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, as shown in a piece published last month in USA Today. "...the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials as well as images of child pornography," he wrote. However, others think differently: "They're saying they can rifle through all the information in a traveler's laptop without having a smidgen of evidence that the traveler is breaking the law," said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. "The policies . . . are truly alarming," stated Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who vowed to introduce legislation requiring reasonable suspicion before a search could be performed.

Recent court cases have ruled that only noninvasive border searches are permitted without reasonable suspicion under US law. Whereas body cavity searches and x-ray scans would go beyond the line, suitcase searches are deemed reasonable. The problem, therefore, boils down to whether a search of a laptop's contents constitutes an invasive search, which is what most privacy experts claim. "A laptop can hold [the equivalent of] a major university's library: It can contain your full life," says Peter Swire, a professor of law at Ohio State University in Columbus. "The government's never gotten to search your entire life, so this is unprecedented in scale what the government can get." Advocates of the policy, on the other hand, claim that a laptop is no more than a suitcase, and that requiring probable cause could result in massive delays.

Update: Added some more research into the issue.

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I gave the United States five years at the most before the US Constitution is no longer valid anymore due to new laws that are passed in Government, and maybe another five years before we are all slaves.

It's amazing how a vast majority of people, who disagree with the things the Government does, just sits back and takes it. That's why there is no hope for humanity anymore. Everyone has gotten too lazy. If the Goverment tried to pull this crap back in the 1700 or 1800s, you would have a revolution on your hands.

(GreyWolfSC said @ #4.3)
The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to testify against yourself. The only battle would be how long you wanted to stay in jail for contempt of court for trying to hide or tamper with evidence. Then, when you were released, you could plead the Fifth all you wanted at your trial.


OK so assuming they take your laptop on suspicion on some ****ed up terrorist plan and it so happens that the hard drive is encrypted ... hence they take your laptop and they put you in jail .... (and you miss your honeymoon hence you brought your laptop with you to download the photos from the camera so you can your the memory to take new ones) ...

so while you sit in jail and think about your honeymoon and the American justice system (not to mention about racist profiling) ... the judge tell you ... "young man you must give us the password or else" so you say no .. why? i have done nothing wrong ...

after a few more ties you succumb and behold ... they boot the computer and find a desktop wallpaper of an ass with a lil brown stuff coming out of it (a close-up i may say) and moreover the laptop does not contain anything besides photos of yourself and your wife (some of which nude) ... and behold INVASION OF PRIVACY ...

I mentioned racial profiling because i am an European (tanned as it may be) always mistaken to be an indian/paki/middle eastern ... although i am clean shaven and short hair (no facial features that actually seem remotely being a terrorist) ... and yet get stopped and asked what is my nationality and yet i am canadian ... (this always happend while traveling to the states)

Knowledge, political opinion, etc. is NOT inherently illegal in any way, shape, or form.

I would argue that "jihadist materials" are Constitutionally protected free speech, as long as they aren't say stolen nuclear bomb plans, etc.

An idea by itself is NOT illegal. Acting upon the idea in a criminal fashion is what's illegal.

This is the bedrock of the American experiment.

"wtf is this paranoid world coming to?" ?

If you aren't paranoid, you must be one of those people who believe everything the US Government tells you, along with the media, and everything else they throw at you to keep you occupied and entertained so you cant freely think for yourself and find out the truth they don't want you to know. I guess there is a difference in being paranoid and being 'awake'.

I think you people should wake up a bit.


google video - Jordan Maxwell, do some research and stop being scared of the big corporation labeled as the "UNITED STATES", Homeland Security is as much of a joke as the rest of it.

It's only a violation of your constitutional rights if you consent to it.

(SintaX said @ #36)
"wtf is this paranoid world coming to?" ?

I think you people should wake up a bit.


Unplug me from the Matrix !!

Also, as the guys before were saying.....this is phase one of the beginning of the "Thought Police"

The scary thing is:

There's no CLEAR Definition as to what you may be found guilty of when they search your Laptop.

Who knows what they can charge you with!!!!


If they feel like they can say you are a spy and then that's it.... Guantanamo for you buddy. lol wtf is this paranoid world is coming too!!

This is what the terrorists wanted to happen in the first place....everyone being suspicious and trust no one.

you really have to wonder who really benefits from this though....the Terrorists or Big Brother ??

@Airlink (#16)
American border agents act like they are above the law anyways.
They'll randomly pull people out of a line for no reason and subject them to a body cavity search, so confiscating your laptops and iPods for no reason doesn't surprise me. Revolts and disgusts me, yes, but it comes as no surprise.

When I was last in the USA, waiting in line at the TSA passport control desk in the airport, the TSA/HLS people pulled a "Random" woman out of the line and searched her.

"No big deal" I hear you say...

Well, yes, it was a freakin BIG deal. She was the only brown person on the flight. "So what" you say?

Well, the TSA stripped her COMPLETELY (100% naked, not a stitch was allowed to be left on her) and in front of all other passengers. What's the matter? JFK not have a private room where they could give her some level of dignity?

Most of the people in the line turned around to show the women some respect, a real shame Bush's henchmen didn't.

When I got to the desk, I asked about the woman and the TSA guy said it was a "random search" and it was none of my business. What a F*cking D*ck!

Welcome to America!

He never said it was no big deal. In fact, he stated that it "revolts and disgusts" him. He's merely stating that confiscation of electronic items do not surprise him if they're willing to go as far as to randomly pull someone to search.

Just how stupid are these terrorists suppose to be? Why would they travel with sensitive material stored on a laptop when it could be so easily stored on a server they could access after entering the country. Come on, the US government can't be so stupid they believe they are going to get any usefull information from a terrosist's laptop. This is just clearly another example of the breakdown of American society. Rome fell from within, the British Empire fell from within and now the States are falling from within. History just keeps repeating itself. Apologies to the Brits, your empire didn't actually fall, it just isn't what it used to be. Hope that makes you feel better.

(glassdesigns said @ #34.2)
Just how stupid are these terrorists suppose to be? Why would they travel with sensitive material stored on a laptop when it could be so easily stored on a server they could access after entering the country. Come on, the US government can't be so stupid they believe they are going to get any usefull information from a terrosist's laptop. This is just clearly another example of the breakdown of American society. Rome fell from within, the British Empire fell from within and now the States are falling from within. History just keeps repeating itself. Apologies to the Brits, your empire didn't actually fall, it just isn't what it used to be. Hope that makes you feel better.

I should also add, why would a terrosist need to enter the country with a laptop in the first place? He could just buy one after arriving if needed and access his information from any number of free wireless hot spots. Does the government understand tech at all? I'm not a tech expert but even I am capable of figuring out how to cercumvent this rediculous policy.

Personally I don't believe this is about home land security at all.

What a convenient argument!
People, this is how your government convinces you of this, by playing on matters you are scared about.

Do you remember when Bush wanted to invade Afghanistan and Iraq? He kept saying those people over there "hate freedom". -That statement is terrorising to most Americans, even though it's not true at all. Muslims don't give two hoots about freedom as they know it's simply a false concept and they also know that in America you don't have real freedoms anyway.

The argument that the border control officers would take away your laptops to check for child porn is just their way of getting the publics support on this, since that is an issue that scares most people. According to psychologists, most pedos are poor old men who certainly won't have the money to travel internationally. Thus the TSA will only catch less then 0.0001% of the laptops they seize. However, this will still be given the blessings by most Americans.

One more thing, the TSA won't keep your laptop for a few hours or a few days, it's more likely going to be more than 90 days (at least), that is longer than the amount of time a non-American can stay in the country. You might as well as kiss your laptop good bye.

Wake up America and start demanding answers from your leaders.

Psst: Don't worry!
This is totally useless and will not be used, they're already testing the new "brain extractors"! :yes:

Glassed Silver:mac

seems the usa government really wants to make the Zeitgeist movie a reality! hope this stupidity isn't contagious and wont spread over the ocean... this is abuse at the highest level! weak up american people... weak the heck up and do something! only YOU... the people cand make a difference! stop going to war... stop swallowing all the cr*p that you're being feed up... wake up people and smell the cr*p.. can't u see that it stinks??!?!?!

The biggest problem is that this does not really affect Americans. Since only less than 20% of Americans actually own a passport and less than that travel abroad and less than that take a laptop with them, this whole nonsense is designed to target non-Americans coming in to the country.

Don't expect to see (m)any Americans campaigning against this.

Whats the deal with child pornography anyways? Shouldn't they be going after the ones taking the pictures, not the ones with the pictures downloaded?

(Brandon said @ #29)
Whats the deal with child pornography anyways? Shouldn't they be going after the ones taking the pictures, not the ones with the pictures downloaded?

+1

I known how to create a bomb and disarm some bombs, i known or to survive, defend and attack military treat, i known how to maintenance some helicopter/tank models and i known how to fly some planes and all this information can be found in USA server legally, indeed the best place to obtain this kind of information is the online and public library of the US army (i don't remember the exact site but it is a real .mil domain). And of course also exist Soldier of Fortune Magazine (tough i think this magazine is used to lure and tag rookies) and several material involved legal (and illegal acts). And i bet, with luck and a lot of lurk, you can find some information related with nuclear material

So, if you want to "terrorism" in USA the best way is to obtain information inside USA. and not just information also dangerous material, i'm sure that in USA plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but outside USA it's a little hard to come by.


(ChopSuey said @ #27)
Looks like this is another step in changing "innocent until proven guilty" to "guilty until proven innocent".

Already happening here in the UK.

Like photography? Don't take photos in public now, even though it's perfectly legal, if someone PCSO or Copper sees you they will [try to] demand you delete the pictures!

We're all terrorists in this County now. I weep for the future of the UK.

Guilty until proven innocent!

"the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices."
haha... Sure. And if that ppl say that is because they are right. I bet all the cocain cartels are aware about this and now try to traffic their product in atomic bombs

(ThePitt said @ #24)
"the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices."

LOL - what idiots

If they are just talking about some data, anyone with access to the internet can send "the most dangerous contraband" over to the USA without even leaving to comfort of their airmchair in IRAQ (or wherever).

ah its ok!

i heard we're doing something similar in the UK
(the ability to check that your mp3's are legal!!!!)

what a world we live in!

anyway......about this "law"

you know that they will do this for just about every coloured person, and pretty much go through your photos and probably your credit card details or documents that you have stored.......

how does my gf's nude photos help fight terrorism?!!!!

(peacemf said @ #23)
ah its ok!

i heard we're doing something similar in the UK
(the ability to check that your mp3's are legal!!!!)

And how exactly do they do that? There is no difference between legal or otherwise MP3's.

do you have to bring receipts for every piece of music you're briniging into the country?

I have no problem with this, if people were allowed to bring laptops etc. over the border without impunity surely it will be used to bring in all sorts of evil. If you have nothing to hide you have no problem. It makes perfect sense to me in the time we live in.

Irrelevant. The Bill of Rights guarantees the right to be secure in one's person, and property, against unreasonable search and seizure. You don't protect virginity through rape.

If you think that it is ok then you wouldn't mind if we put cameras all through your home, even the bathroom, 24/7. After all if you got nothing to hide you shouldn't have a problem.

(oldgeek said @ #21)
I have no problem with this, if people were allowed to bring laptops etc. over the border without impunity surely it will be used to bring in all sorts of evil. If you have nothing to hide you have no problem. It makes perfect sense to me in the time we live in.


they would still leave with my laptop/phone for god knows, maybe six months.. so, no thanks dude, you really dont understand ****.

(oldgeek said @ #21)
I have no problem with this, if people were allowed to bring laptops etc. over the border without impunity surely it will be used to bring in all sorts of evil. If you have nothing to hide you have no problem. It makes perfect sense to me in the time we live in.

I was wondering when that old chesnut appeared!

You Sir may regret the day you said that. Because the rights & freedoms of the majority are being eroded due to a miniscule minority.

When you have checkpoints on every street corner, and you're ordered to have state radio playing in your house 24/7, then you'll wish you hadn't said those words.

Don't thingk it can happen? Look at China then look at the way your Country is going.

Even ours (UK), is going that way. We have more surveillance cameras watching us than China now!!!

I have nothing to hide but I have real problem!!!

@ Oldgeek ----------

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." - Benjamin Franklin


You sicken me. You are one of those. An argument of an idiot. Thank God and the fathers that the second amendment was made for exactly the rhetoric your kind spew.

On July 24, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that US Customs and Border Patrol Officers had the right to search and seize a person’s laptop computer, computer discs and other electronic media.

So probably the next indian/pakistani/arab guy carrying a laptop getting in or out of the country, who probably is a harmless guy or has no link at all with anything could get his laptop confiscated by the home land border security or whatever just because hey, they don't need any reasons and they have the power to do that, if they're having a feeling you're a terrorist or a guy who might just be in possession of child pornography, they can take your laptop and all your electronic devices and keep them until they feel like! Great, just simply awesome.

.....at least the foreigners aren't taking control over the USA....and yes..the USA is always interested in details about fanatic islamics living abroad.

(jwjw1 said @ #15.1)
.....at least the foreigners aren't taking control over the USA....and yes..the USA is always interested in details about fanatic islamics living abroad.


STFU

(jwjw1 said @ #15.1)
.....at least the foreigners aren't taking control over the USA....and yes..the USA is always interested in details about fanatic islamics living abroad.

Foreigners don't have to take over America since Corporate America is selling you out whole sale.... Communist China already owns much of your national debt. They don't have to invade, they just have to foreclose.

meh, i'm not worried..... theres no way this will stand for long. Supreme court will have to snuff this out. There would be WAY too much backlash for them to sit and do nothing.

Probably not. Nobody's going to know about this law because border cops aren't going to be checking your laptops unless you've given them reason to. And very few people will give them reason to.

While I do disagree with this solely on the reasoning that they don't need to have suspicion of wrongdoing, I think you'd be overly paranoid to believe that they're going to check it without having that suspicion first anyways. It's a waste of their time otherwise.

-Spenser

And what happens when you have another muppet like Bush in power; someone even less accountable and more controversial? The law is already in place and you don't need suspicion. It now becomes possible to search every Asian person entering the country. What about political opponents? They can have their laptops seized and examined. Laws should never be passed when there is so much room for abuse - they should be focused to the task at hand, which this one clearly isn't.

If you can't see that a law like this is dangerous then I pity you. I pity your ignorance and your willingness to sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety, to paraphrase a very famous individual.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #14.2)
And what happens when you have another muppet like Bush in power; someone even less accountable and more controversial? The law is already in place and you don't need suspicion. It now becomes possible to search every Asian person entering the country. What about political opponents? They can have their laptops seized and examined. Laws should never be passed when there is so much room for abuse - they should be focused to the task at hand, which this one clearly isn't.

If you can't see that a law like this is dangerous then I pity you. I pity your ignorance and your willingness to sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety, to paraphrase a very famous individual.

Well said.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #14.2)
And what happens when you have another muppet like Bush in power; someone even less accountable and more controversial? The law is already in place and you don't need suspicion. It now becomes possible to search every Asian person entering the country. What about political opponents? They can have their laptops seized and examined. Laws should never be passed when there is so much room for abuse - they should be focused to the task at hand, which this one clearly isn't.

If you can't see that a law like this is dangerous then I pity you. I pity your ignorance and your willingness to sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety, to paraphrase a very famous individual.


+1 trillion

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #14.2)
And what happens when you have another muppet like Bush in power; someone even less accountable and more controversial? The law is already in place and you don't need suspicion. It now becomes possible to search every Asian person entering the country. What about political opponents? They can have their laptops seized and examined. Laws should never be passed when there is so much room for abuse - they should be focused to the task at hand, which this one clearly isn't.

If you can't see that a law like this is dangerous then I pity you. I pity your ignorance and your willingness to sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety, to paraphrase a very famous individual.

thanx, jack*ss..... I'm not ignorant, in fact i'm smart enough to know that the us govt was set up to prevent any one part from becoming overly powerful (separation of powers, checks and balances). I'm not worried because theres no way the supreme court could ignore a case related to this, and thus, no way that the law will survive for very long. Even tho two of the justices are picked by Bush, he was still ruled against regarding illegal wiretaps. They do their job, not kiss bush's ass. All it takes is for one person to experience this type of abuse of power and have the resources to take it all the way to the supreme court, and they'll have to throw the law out. It's obviously unconstitutional.

(ispamforfood said @ #14.5)
thanx, jack*ss..... I'm not ignorant, in fact i'm smart enough to know that the us govt was set up to prevent any one part from becoming overly powerful

Yes, but surely it's hard to have faith in the system when one part is already acting in an obscene manner? If one part of the system has already failed then how can you trust the others? The US already has Guantanamo Bay... clearly the checks and measures aren't working.

(ispamforfood said @ #1)
They do their job, not kiss bush's ass. All it takes is for one person to experience this type of abuse of power and have the resources to take it all the way to the supreme court, and they'll have to throw the law out. It's obviously unconstitutional.

I thought the system was supposed to be sure the law is constitutional first, before being made a law at all. If that's not even being checked, wouldn't you say there is a flaw in the system to begin with?

Either way, I can only hope what you say is right. Somehow though... I just don't see it happening. :\

I'm from Europe, and my American employer still wonders why I can't be convinced to visit the company HQ in Hollywood.

The ironic thing is that because of more government in Europe, and the like, Americans accuse Europeans of living with less freedoms and rights.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #13.1)
Indeed. I refuse to visit the US on principle.

Just another reason not to visit the USA. In fact unless you were going over there for a laugh, to see how their country and econony are falling apart, wy bother.

So what is it now?

Mandatory fingerprinting
Laptop seizure with no cause

Whats next?, who cares I'm never going back there.

This is only the beginning.

In the future, the cops can stop you in the street and take your iPod off you -just incase you have unauthorised music on it.

Your ISPs (AS WELL AS GOOGLE) will provide to any authority what searches you have done.

And all of this can and probably will be done without suspicion or a warrant. If you do not comply, that will be called as criminal offence.

Like it was said in the first reply, welcome to the "HOME OF THE FREE".

God BLESS America!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtXl_TyM6aI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUdaPNXC_68

This is really nothing new. The DEA could seize your property on suspicion alone and they could sell it to "recoup costs" as well without you even being guilty either.


At least in Canada there are laws protecting privacy, for now...

Yes, but that is reasonable suspicion. True, it is a lower standard than probable cause. This law allows for an individual agents to seize equipment under neither court supported standards. It is basically a checkpoint... only they get to keep your car. At the very least they get the keys to your car. You than have to trust them to give you the car (computer or device) back. Good luck with that!

(bluarash said @ #11.1)
Yes, but that is reasonable suspicion. True, it is a lower standard than probable cause. This law allows for an individual agents to seize equipment under neither court supported standards. It is basically a checkpoint... only they get to keep your car. At the very least they get the keys to your car. You than have to trust them to give you the car (computer or device) back. Good luck with that!

Define reasonable?

When a person possesses the tools necessary to commit a crime (would have to have more then just a singular device) and if the individual is invasive in avoidance (flees from the scene). That being said, given that this is significantly intrusive behavior the agent should have to have probable cause to seize equipment following US statutory law. Neither standard, however, is met here. It does not meet any kind of a test.

You know, I'm much against the "Only in America" statements that depict us as ignorant fat retards, as it's no better than consistently suggesting that all Europeans don't shave or bathe. However, I will agree very much with this statement this time around. As Jexkesa said, I don't believe it will be long before the rest of the world becomes this way as well. We are easily manipulated when an enemy is created.

Hell, even an episode of Family Guy can draw it out for you if you've seen the one where Lois becomes mayor. She needs money, so she creates a "threat", and suddenly the people are just throwing money at her. Just because it isn't as silly or as comical as the cartoon doesn't mean it isn't happening. What's worse is that we're not just giving them money, we're giving them our rights for this false illusion of "safety" from men in caves.

People keep pushing the tin foil hat on anyone who suggests that the government is in movement for more control. Yet, day after day, we keep giving them more and more. Then, we sit around kicking our feet drinking a beer with our friends saying,"Well, what you gonna do... this whole country is falling apart..." and so forth. I dunno... people just seem so damn backwards I guess.

(Dakkaroth said @ #10.2)
People keep pushing the tin foil hat on anyone who suggests that the government is in movement for more control. Yet, day after day, we keep giving them more and more. Then, we sit around kicking our feet drinking a beer with our friends saying,"Well, what you gonna do... this whole country is falling apart..." and so forth. I dunno... people just seem so damn backwards I guess.

I have been labelled one of the tin foil hat brigade many times. The problem is that people REFUSE to acknowledge something that will shatter their version of "reality". The fact is that most people are too comfortable, and moving out of that comfort zone is hard...I am sure most people in America will see this law and go, ahh, who cares, I dont travel anyway, etc...

I feel sorry for the brave few who will speak out against this law, since they will most probably have very little or no support from the sheeple...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. " -- Benjamin Franklin

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me. We are turning into a fascist state before our own eyes.

Quote from Will Durant

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

(hagjohn said @ #9)
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. " -- Benjamin Franklin

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me. We are turning into a fascist state before our own eyes.

This quote is extremely relevant especially in this day and age. And btw, it is not just America, but it is most surprising that people in america are actually letting all of this bullcrap go down. I used to admire the freedoms americans used to enjoy in the past, but these days I pity their enslavement...

WHAT THE ****?

sorry I had to use that size and color.....

---

Also what if everything on the drive was encrypted with like truecrypt or bitlocker =P I want to see homeland security crack that. What a brilliant waste of taxpayers money, not to mention the other things.

(/ -Razorfold said @ #4)
WHAT THE ****?

sorry I had to use that size and color.....

---

Also what if everything on the drive was encrypted with like truecrypt or bitlocker =P I want to see homeland security crack that. What a brilliant waste of taxpayers money, not to mention the other things.

thats right, it is a waste of taxpayers money, as well as a violation of our rights.

Scan the thing for drugs and explosives and let us be on our way.

Put the border patrol agents where they need to be on the border with mexico armed with assault rifles.

There is actually a Fifth Amendment case in New York State (I believe) that will probably test the Constitutionality of this law. If files are encrypted by password which is *not* written down, but only in the memory of the property owner, the owner under the Fifth Amendment cannot be forced to reveal the password. It falls under the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment also protects against unreasonable search and seizure without due process, so this could be a big battle if someone wanted to take up the fight for it.

(BadCubSeattle said @ #4.2)
There is actually a Fifth Amendment case in New York State (I believe) that will probably test the Constitutionality of this law. If files are encrypted by password which is *not* written down, but only in the memory of the property owner, the owner under the Fifth Amendment cannot be forced to reveal the password. It falls under the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment also protects against unreasonable search and seizure without due process, so this could be a big battle if someone wanted to take up the fight for it.

The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to testify against yourself. The only battle would be how long you wanted to stay in jail for contempt of court for trying to hide or tamper with evidence. Then, when you were released, you could plead the Fifth all you wanted at your trial.

Also what if everything on the drive was encrypted with like truecrypt or bitlocker =P I want to see homeland security crack that.

We don't need no key, we'll break it!

The scary thing is, they don't need the password. They can just pass it on to one of the departments that specializes in this sorta thing and they'll crack it in no time. Also I recall reading that the US government has "backdoor" access to alot of the encryption out there for this very reason...it's a scary world we live in that is for sure. Also in the case that I'm totally wrong about the backdoor thing, even using brute force they'd be able to crack all but the strongest encryption in a short amount of time anyway.

(Xerxes said @ #4.5)
The scary thing is, they don't need the password. They can just pass it on to one of the departments that specializes in this sorta thing and they'll crack it in no time. Also I recall reading that the US government has "backdoor" access to alot of the encryption out there for this very reason...it's a scary world we live in that is for sure. Also in the case that I'm totally wrong about the backdoor thing, even using brute force they'd be able to crack all but the strongest encryption in a short amount of time anyway.

Not true. Brute force is ineffective in this age. Even with the resources those departments have it would take hundreds of years to brute force just a triple blowfish encryption. Even the brute forcer's you download on the internet usually give you a time scale (starting in hours going up to millenia). If you aren't just lucky brute forcing is pointless.

(Xerxes said @ #4.5)
The scary thing is, they don't need the password. ......

You watch too much 24. Theres no way they can crack decent encryption, thats exactly why they make it illegal not to hand over the keys when requested here in the UK - because without them they can do jack.

Thankfully there is someone with some sense still alive and in a position to attempt to do something.

Well done Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.)

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #2)
"If you want to imagine the future, picture a boot stamping on a human face - forever" - 1984, by George Orwell

Pay attention to this sentence in particular:

"the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials"

So now you can be arrested for possessing "jihadist materials"? Information is now "dangerous contraband"?

It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals, using psychology and omnipresent surveillance from telescreens to find and eliminate members of society who were capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling authority.

(ambushed said @ #1.2)

Whoever told you that is your enemy.

Now something must be done, about vengeance, a badge and a gun... although it probably wont be.