Wired has a good story on this monstrous abuse of power by the Department of Homeland Security: Travelers along the nation’s borders (and by this DHS means up to 100 miles inside the border) are risking having their electronic seized and the contents examined without a warrant. The DHS’s ironically-named “Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties” declared that,
We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits…
Really? Making officers have to reasonable suspicion of a crime is harmful to their operations and doesn’t impact our civil right against illegal search and seizure. So now DHS officers do not have to obey the central, primary law of the nation — the Constitution they swore to uphold, no less — because it would be inconvenient to them.
When police convenience and police safety (as with the recent Dorner mess) become paramount to the rights and safety of the people they are hired by to protect them what do we call this..?
Oh, yes. A police state.
The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.
So where does this convenience end? You phone? Your bag? Your car, which in New Mexico is an extension of your house? Your body? When does police convenience end and my right to be safe in my papers and property begin?
When George W Bush stated this mess in 2008, it was a death knell for civil liberties, and Barack Obama has made these incursions into our privacy worse with his signing of the NDAA in 2012, as well as his increasingly imperial view of his powers to legislate through executie order. It is time for Americans to strongly push back on these abuses of power by the administration and the bureaucracy.
Currently, the ACLU is demanding FOIA access to the department’s use of this policy and The Constitutional Project has a paper detailing the dangers of this policy. Familiarize yourself with the situation, write/call/badger your congresspeople. Let them know you are free people and demand your constitutional rights.
Don’t think it can happen you you..?
Do not submit.