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US border cops must get warrants to search phones, devices – EFF

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Put the data on "the cloud", delete the app, then reinstall it once you are past border control? That's certainly what experienced criminals will be doing.

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Quite. If you thought of it, and I thought of it, then anyone with something to hide has thought of it too.

This leads me to believe the policy has nothing whatsoever to do with catching criminals or "terrorists".

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Crims are also well aware of the advantages of burner phones. I suspect it is only a matter of time before the "offence" of not having an immediately obvious FarceBook account set up becomes probable cause to call in a proctologist.

Sending the phone on ahead via FedEx still seems to be a fairly reliable workaround based on anecdotal evidence.

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Anonymous Coward

Why use the cloud when you can put a cheeky micro SD up the bum? There's a myth that some could smuggle zip-100's though this has never been proven or attempted since. The alternative was microfiche.

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Anonymous Coward

"Sending the phone on ahead via FedEx still seems to be a fairly reliable workaround based on anecdotal evidence."

Except when FedEx take 10 days to "overnight/two day" it to you, and it somehow goes via China and it gets opened and who knows what happens to it. Ask me how I know.

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So you tried to use this 'send it ahead' trick, but evil old FedEx saw right thru you and sent your phone off to their masters (the Chinese authorities) to be probed anyway, darn it.

Why do I find this scenario less than believable?

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FedEx routing "errors" are common

Same with other couriers, it's not exclusive to them.

There are countless anecdotes of parcels taking unreasonable and in some cases completely insane routes according to the courier tracker and calendar days taken to arrive.

Of course, there's no way to know where a package actually went - only what the courier admits to.

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Anonymous Coward

Put the data on "the cloud", delete the app, then reinstall it once you are past border control? That's certainly what experienced criminals will be doing.

True. US border control merely assures only the smart ones gain entry, i.e. the truly dangerous ones, plus there is IMHO a vast question about their actual abilities. How many truly qualified people do they have to do electronic searches? If the expertise I saw on display at a northern England police force is comparable we're dealing with what I call the trained monkey syndrome: idiots drawing unwarranted, self serving conclusions based on a lack of understanding of what they're dealing with causing innocent people having to prove their innocence against a veritable wave of ignorance.

I know people in the force who do know their IT, but they're rare. I cannot see the volume any higher at the border because that is in essence a profit making venture, which means expertise is cut to the bone to save on salaries. Maybe that's why they're arresting DEFCON hackers now?

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Anonymous Coward

Why use the cloud when you can put a cheeky micro SD up the bum?

No need to get that uncomfortable. I've seen hollowed out coins which looked like the real thing but which had a space inside. You opened it up by knocking it whilst positioned on a ring (which you can just wear as apparent jewellery). The coin metal also shields it from Xray.

If someone wants to carry data, there are many, many ways. The only way you could stop that is to prevent the use of any metal of mini-SD card size or larger, but at that point, someone will come up with a smaller nano-SD card and the game starts all over again.

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Re: FedEx routing "errors" are common

"Of course, there's no way to know where a package actually went - only what the courier admits to."

...unless the package happens to contain... a phone. Which could power up each hour or so, attempt to get a GPS fix, log it, and power back down for another hour (with the right app). Might still miss all the clear(ish)-sky fix opportunities though...

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FAIL

Re: FedEx routing "errors" are common

Border Police/TSA aren't trying to catch the smart criminals (that's up to the FBI et al). TSA only what the easy collars to make their numbers look good.

Gotta be seen to be doing something...

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Re: Which could power up each hour or so

and would wait for PIN confirmation before doing anything.

I don't think that there is any app that go around that.

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"Sending the phone on ahead via FedEx"

Although currently it still seems to be a bit of a gamble as to when it might arrive.

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Re: Which could power up each hour or so

"and would wait for PIN confirmation before doing anything.

I don't think that there is any app that go around that."

I suspect he meant sleep/hibernate, not power down. In which case, there are many apps capable of doing as he suggests.

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Re: FedEx routing "errors" are common

They are probably using advanced AI systems...

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Re: FedEx routing "errors" are common

"...unless the package happens to contain... a phone."

And (irony aside), it doesn't need a phone - there's several luggage-tracking devices/apps out there that'd do nicely, enabling you to keep your phone powered off and therefore keeping it in a completely encrypted status.

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No need to get that uncomfortable.

The Canadian two dollar coin (Toonie) is just perfect.

Cool Kids coin modification

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Anonymous Coward

Remote Desktop...

It all seems pretty pointless, if they have hunch/tip off maybe i.e. directed, but spending vast amounts on this is a waste of time, because people (that need to) will just learn to work round it. Soon the only thing they'll be catching is the low hanging clueless fruit.

Just take a new USB Live version of Linux with you, (or create it when you arrive) if you know you'll have access to a PC when you get there, keeps everything separate. What's to stop anyone using RDC to display the screen of another device with access to all their data, i.e. a PC on your work/home network via a secure VPN / Cisco Router for security. It's not even cloud based then and they'll certainly need a warrant.

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Re: Remote Desktop...

I think this is what the framers of the constitution were thinking of when they talked about unreasonable search. Just consider anything you have done, thought or written, or anyone you have ever met or communicated with, that this or any future government might disapprove of, and take the sort of precautions you would take if you were being parachuted into occupied France in 1941.

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Facepalm

Re: Remote Desktop...

"Just take a new USB Live version of Linux with you,"

Or, I hate to say it - Windows To Go...

Ew.

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Re: the sort of precautions you would take if you were being parachuted into [..] France in 1941

That is why it has to be said that Bin Laden has won.

We have been turned around and now we accept draconian and Stasi-level impositions on our personal freedoms because we are all too lily-livered to stand up for our rights.

If I have to travel, I forego phone and all electronics. I take a book for the trip. Of course, I haven't ever had to take a plane for business reasons, so it's easy for me.

Obviously, the day a Facebook profile is required to pass border control, I'm screwed.

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Re: the sort of precautions you would take if you were being parachuted into [..] France in 1941

You'll need to step up your game. At least to 1960ies standards.

"Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find:

- One forty-five caliber automatic

- Two boxes of ammunition

- Four days' concentrated emergency rations

- One drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine,

vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills

- One miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible

- One hundred dollars in rubles

- One hundred dollars in gold

- Nine packs of chewing gum

- One issue of prophylactics

- Three lipsticks

- Three pair of nylon stockings.

Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

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Re: the sort of precautions you would take if you were being parachuted into [..] France in 1941

"Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

Weekend yeah, but most of it didn't last past Sunday night. Though the ammo lasted all the way till Thursday.

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Megaphone

Re: the sort of precautions you would take if you were being parachuted into [..] France in 1941

"That is why it has to be said that Bin Laden has won."

too many people trade freedom for (the promise of) security, and get NEITHER.

I still think that border cops and airport cops should "profile" instead. But NOOoooo... political correctness DEMANDS that EVERYBODY be treated like a potential criminal! You know, like TSA feeling up 6 year old girls, looking for hidden bombs or something. Yes, that happened.

So yeah, it's like a "Paranoia Gambit" gone horribly wrong.

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the day a Facebook profile is required to pass border control, I'm screwed.

Simple solution. I do not exist on social media.

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Individual warrants?

Or just apply for a single warrant covering all airports, ports and areas within 100mi of a border, for all people, for 10 years - and have it signed in secret by a single judge?

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Re: Individual warrants?

Those who read the Constitution know that warrants have to be based "upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly [describe] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The idea of a single warrant such as described will not fly.

On the other hand, "secret" warrants are, for practical purposes, the norm in nearly all cases, and probably in nearly all countries. Notification of the target normally arrives with the warrant and is delivered immediately before a search begins.

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Re: Individual warrants?

warrants have to be based "upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly [describe] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That's going to take a bite out of Stingray's share price

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Re: Individual warrants?

Constitutional? That's for liberal snowflakes.

Except for the second amendment, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Individual warrants?

Or just apply for a single warrant covering all airports, ports and areas within 100mi of a border, for all people, for 10 years - and have it signed in secret by a single judge?

Actually, border control can already search any laptops,etc within 100 miles of the US Border. Conveniently, about 2/3 the population of the US lives within this "constitutional exemption" zone.

[Removes tinfoil hat].

And anyway - the discussion with border control goes something like this:

"will you unlock your phone for me, sir?"

"No"

"OK. Since you're not a US citizen, enjoy your flight home"

or

"well, you are a US citizen, but you look suspicious, I think we're going to have to detain you for 72 hours on suspicion of loitering"

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This article quaintly seems to assume that the rule of law still has a modicum of meaning within the good ol' US of A. I'm experiencing so much nostalgia right now.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Surely

the point of search at the border is to prevent people bringing contraband into the country not to determine their suitability to enter. Anything more is by definition excessive. Of course, that horse bolted long ago.

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More delays...

So if this goes through, (as it should), instead of hanging around for a couple of hours while they clone your phone contents, you now spend 3 days in the slammer while they wait to get a warrant. Great!

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Go

Re: More delays...

You missed the part about the Maximum of 4 hours detention?

Admittedly thats only for yanks but hopefully, if yanks get that protection, something similar will eventually trickle down to the rest of us dirty foreigners.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: More delays...

You missed the part about the Maximum of 4 hours detention?

Admittedly thats only for yanks but hopefully, if yanks get that protection, something similar will eventually trickle down to the rest of us dirty foreigners.

When did that EVER happen?

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Anonymous Coward

The next step ..

.. is to make sure you keep every spam and every dodgy content ever sent to you by email.

It's not going to be your fault when they infect their systems now, is it?

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Only affects Americans

The American authorities should realise than generally, Americans are going to travel back home anyway.

It's the "less important forrin' types" - tourists and business people - who now stays away that should be their real concern.

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Joke

Re: Only affects Americans

There may be an ulterior motive. They really don't want McAfee getting back in.

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I know criminal mastermind is a bit of an oxymoron .

But I would expect any 'professional' ne'er do wells to have at least two social media personalities, A public one easily viewed by the border forces full of cat videos and anodyne postings, "Nothing to see here welcome to our country"; and their working one which is accessed by a computer in a broom cupboard somewhere over a vpn.

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But what age do you start having a 'safe' profile?

Would any of your posts in highschool mention anything that a future President Bannon might object to ?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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This is more political than technical

The U.S. is certainly instituting a closed-border policy. Not just keeping foreigners out, but making every effort to keep it's own citizens in.

This does seem like just another step towards some sort of totalitarian regime change. Restrict the free travel of your citizens, even internally. Ohio's asset forfeiture policies pretty much mean I won't be travelling through that state.

It's very quick work on the part of the Trump contingent. We like to talk about his health care and wall building failures, but he truly is succeeding at his true goal, isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world and strengthen his cronies' economic power by weakening the position of the common citizen. Cast doubt, spread fear, and sow anger. Decry higher education, weaken the common/free lower education system (Betsy DeVos, really?). Breed a society of dumb, content laborers.

Treat the citizens like cattle. Profit on their every interaction (thanks Pai!), tax them and spend it on the Military Industrial Complex we don't need(M1 Abrams and F-35s? No thanks). Keep the people sick and weak and complacent by denying them basic health care (not that that's been working out too well for them).

It's all truly terrifying if you stop to think about it. Soon the US will beis run by a cabal of the greediest, most loathsome bastards you've ever laid eyes on.

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Not mine

Search my phone? but it isn't mine, it belongs to my company who are not available at weekends...so I can't give you permission to look at it...?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not mine

In that case it's likely they will keep it - that other fun thing they can do to you.

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Search my phone? (or laptop)

I once worked for a company where the only way to log in was to call a phone number (dumb phone). It used a five minute window synced with the time of day on the laptop. The login password changed every five minutes. Call, type your ID and the robot gave you the proper password for that five minutes.

"Sorry sir, the number is busy or not working..."

The other thing to do is very simple. Multiple users with one that has access to nonsense. Some some pretty pictures on the screen should be interesting...

Music album covers

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Coat

Don't leave home without then.

So while people may be very unhappy about border agents going through their luggage, everyone pretty much agrees that it is a necessary right.

Do we though? I don't believe I'd ever use the words, "necessary right" to describe such acts. Now privacy, that I will happily put high on a list of necessary rights. Some numpty rummaging through my clothes, much less my personal electronics, isn't something that will make me feel safe or secure.

I'm sure I've got my inalienable right in one of these pockets.

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Border

Search at the border is disingenuous. I don't recall ever seeing anything in the constitution saying that any part to the United States of America was exempt from the constitution, much less any part of the USA within 200 miles of the border (which includes the better part of the entire population, most of which are US citizens.) Things are out of hand, we need to correct our course and sail away from this police state the current SCOTUS is trying to steer us into.

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