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  • #16
    Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

    Originally posted by Thorn View Post
    *Coming from Pennsylvania, you would probably call a town a "township." That is the type of thing that will get you noticed as a stranger.
    Yes, I'm just going by what Lou Dobbes keeps saying on CNN and have no experience crossing border with the exception of a few childhood trips.

    Dam ;-), how did you know that. In PA, we have villages, towns, boro's, townships, counties and cities. Then of course the generic names people use for areas of the cities, like Mayfair, and K&A, ..etc which really aren't on any map.

    If you were wondering yes it's get confusing even for GPS. Often an address is served by a post office that doesn't necessary sit in a towns USGS map coordinates. But I'm sure this happens every where.

    xor
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

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    • #17
      Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

      Originally posted by xor View Post
      Yes, I'm just going by what Lou Dobbes keeps saying on CNN and have no experience crossing border with the exception of a few childhood trips.

      Dam ;-), how did you know that. In PA, we have villages, towns, boro's, townships, counties and cities. Then of course the generic names people use for areas of the cities, like Mayfair, and K&A, ..etc which really aren't on any map.

      If you were wondering yes it's get confusing even for GPS. Often an address is served by a post office that doesn't necessary sit in a towns USGS map coordinates. But I'm sure this happens every where.

      xor
      A former co-worker was from PA. He used to use the word "town" for a central commercial area, and "township"when referring to the larger geopolitical unit. He also used to talk about the "county." all of those things made his speech stand out. In the New England, a central area may be a "town" but is most often called a "village". The larger geopolitical limits are always either a "town" or a "city" (but only if chartered as a city.)

      Because county governments are so insignificant to be almost non-existent in New England, and there are few unincorporated areas of land*, referring to the "county" in any context other than 'a collection of towns in a particular area' will mark you as a stranger.

      *Unincorporated county areas are mistakes from times past when surveying and cartography were less accurate. Generally triangular in nature, these are called "gores."
      Thorn
      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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      • #18
        Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

        There is actually only one "town" in Pennsylvania (Bloomsburg). Everything else is either a city or borough or township. Townships are typically subdivisions of a county outside of a city or borough. Townships are also often (but not always) the divisions between school districts. Villages are unofficial in nature (not officially incorporated).

        The "county sheriff" in PA does not have the same clout as they do in other parts of the country. Police departments are typically organized by city, borough, or township. Sometimes townships pool together in regional departments. There are county deputies, they do have the same arrest powers, but traditionally they are not used in the same way as they are in other parts of the country.
        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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        • #19
          Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

          Originally posted by Thorn View Post
          After thinking this through further, the best bet may be to have backups of all important files that are remotely accessible and are synced to the laptop. Even if the laptop is seized, you could still make a VPN connection to your home server that crosses borders.
          Let me recommend a methodology even more strict. If this were me, and I were concerned, I'd do the following:

          o Travel with a clean, innocent install of WinXP or Vista, and it would NEVER have been used to read email, browse the web, or edit a file.
          o Keep one or more of Knoppix or Live CD of your choice
          o Keep files, encrypted, on a server, preferably at home, or other trusted location
          o Say that the laptop is new to you, and that you haven't used it much. Try to believe what you are saying. Practice beforehand.
          o If there is no safe server at home, try carrying media such as CDs or DVDs that can be inserted under a car tire or other object if destruction seems necessary

          Sound like I'm paranoid and distrustful? I'd suggest looking around you.

          "They had discovered Mr. Slippery's True Name and it was Roger Andrew
          Pollack TIN/SSAN 0959-34-2861, and no amount of evasion, tricky
          programming, or robot sources could ever again protect him from them."

          True Names, Vernor Vinge
          Trust, but verify.

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          • #20
            Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

            Based on current cases, it would be better at this point to encrypt all important files, and refuse to give up the password, based on your rights under the Fifth Amendment. A current case in this US District Court has affirmed that legal stand. Of course, the US Attorney's Office here is appealing, so that may change soon. Officials at international border crossings have typically been given greater legal leeway in searches.
            I'm pretty encouraged by this decision. We've been kicking around the notion of whether or not you could be compelled to produce passwords and keys as part of a criminal investigation for quite some time (I remember it coming up during Jennifer Granick's talk) and it's great to finally get some guidance.

            While it's true that the LEO you're dealing with at the time may not like it if you do invoke the 5th, they may let you go unless they otherwise have probable cause to take you into custody. I'm sure Thorn is a much better authority on that particular subject.
            jur1st, esq.

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            • #21
              Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

              Originally posted by jur1st View Post
              I'm pretty encouraged by this decision. We've been kicking around the notion of whether or not you could be compelled to produce passwords and keys as part of a criminal investigation for quite some time (I remember it coming up during Jennifer Granick's talk) and it's great to finally get some guidance.
              It's been making headlines here for the last couple of weeks, and it's interesting to see that it's starting to garner more attention.

              While I'm no fan of letting criminals go on technicalities, a strong interpretation of the Fifth Amendment is a bigger benefit to everyone.

              Originally posted by jur1st View Post
              While it's true that the LEO you're dealing with at the time may not like it if you do invoke the 5th, they may let you go unless they otherwise have probable cause to take you into custody. I'm sure Thorn is a much better authority on that particular subject.
              Let me preface this by stating the Feds have different rules, and as I previously said, border crossings have their own rules which have traditionally been more relaxed, and border officers almost everywhere tend to have very wide latitude in exercising their powers.

              Generally, a LEO's hands are tied when dealing with this type of situation. Without probable cause, and only a vague suspicion that something might be illegal, they may be able to hold you for addition investigation for a short while, but they will have to let you go at some point.
              Thorn
              "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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              • #22
                Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                Funny this topic should be ongoing as I just got off the phone with an acquaintance that was a longtime LEO. He is of the "if you have nothing to hide, you have no problems giving up your privacy to the proper authorities" and "The 4th and 5th amendments have become a tool of the terrorists.. and you are either with the terrorists or against them.." mentality. My stance was the "take my constitutional rights from my cold dead hands" approach, but he did make a good point. You try that, you are getting fucked. No two ways about it, constitution be goddamned. You have to pick your battles, and unless you are willing to sacrifice most of what you have (job/income/privacy/freedom/etc) to make a point and be a martyr then you are better off with a minor civil disobedience approach. One could politely make it more of a pain in the arse to deal with you than it's worth... keep a couple pics of legal models or something and say you were "embarrassed to have pictures of women in bikini's on your laptop.. you don't want the wife/gf to find out!". Not flat-out refusing, not being rude, and NOT completely refusing. One could even be OVERLY polite to the point it is obnoxious. If everyone did that then the cost in time and effort becomes more than the whole idiotic process is worth. Not saying anyone should do such an act.. Civil Disobedience is Un-American.

                Debate of the legalities of the searches aside, in this situation it is far easier to just bypass the whole damn issue by using crypto + stenography (truecrypt with hidden partitions, etc). That way even if you did have to give the password up to make the whole goddamn issue go away (showing the bikini pics, perhaps!), you can still keep your privacy and rights. I still find it amazing that DHS actually thinks they are going to catch anyone except a complete idiot by doing this. Anyone wanting to sneak around data is either going to use a ssh/vpn tunnel, a microSD card, etc.

                Now... if I was the government and wanted to assist with industrial espionage, what a better way than to start grabbing data from business people entering the US from other countries... (/me puts on tinfoil hat)
                Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

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                • #23
                  Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                  Here's the thing that I don't get.

                  I understand that PCs can have data on them used in terroristic activities.

                  I also understand that these same PCs can be bought, NOT have the data on them at the time of entering the country and THEN be loaded with that said data at any internet cafe/hub/etc once safely in the borders via the internet and let's say....a zip file called 'stuff.zip' which would look pretty harmless to anyone who saw the file being transfered to the pc.

                  Hell, or someone could have it all on a flash drive inside their fake pen and hook it to their USB later. I have a USB jump drive that to the average person looks exactly like a pen. Stick that in a pack with a bunch of actual pens and no one would be the wiser.

                  So, maybe what I am asking in the end is....

                  Is the cost of taking our freedom of privacy in regards to our personal data worth the benefit of the slight chance they will catch some moron with their pants down who didn't take the time to plan it out?
                  -Ridirich

                  "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

                  Commander W.H. Hamilton

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                  • #24
                    Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                    Originally posted by che View Post
                    Funny this topic should be ongoing as I just got off the phone with an acquaintance that was a longtime LEO. He is of the "if you have nothing to hide, you have no problems giving up your privacy to the proper authorities" and "The 4th and 5th amendments have become a tool of the terrorists.. and you are either with the terrorists or against them.." mentality.
                    I'm sure that your acquaintance is experiencing the frustration the a lot of cops have. Their jobs would be so much easier if those pesky Fourth and Fifth Amendments weren't there, and since they're only after real criminals, the general public has nothing to fear. It is an easy trap to fall into as a LEO. Unfortunately, it's wrong, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments are designed to protect every US citizen from exactly that mindset in government officials.

                    While the Fourth and Fifth Amendments do protect criminals under many circumstances -and I'll tell you firsthand it can be frustrating as all fuck to see a criminal that you absolutely know is guilty walk on a legal technicality- people (especially gov't officials) need to keep in mind the bigger picture: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are what keep us from turning into a police state. The 4th and the 5th have always been "a tool of the terrorists" (and drug cartels, and Organized Crime, and... well, you get the point), but the bottom line is that they protect every citizen from having to expose any and all details of their private lives to the the government at the whim of any public official who deems it in appropriate.
                    Thorn
                    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                    • #25
                      Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                      Originally posted by Ridirich View Post
                      Is the cost of taking our freedom of privacy in regards to our personal data worth the benefit of the slight chance they will catch some moron with their pants down who didn't take the time to plan it out?

                      Bruce Schneir talks about such things quite often. We've moved to a CYA method of security (Cover your ass).

                      If there is a perceived threat, no matter how ridiculous, those in command have to be seen as doing something about it, no matter how useless. That way if something did happen, they can say that they tried, rather than getting hung out to dry as the scapegoat.

                      This is why we still cannot have liquids. That plot was completely debunked and technically unfeisable, however if something did occur, no matter how remotely related to the original percieved threat, that person would be drawn and quartered. The only security that matters to alot of people is job security.

                      This is also why they insist on checking laptops for bomb plans, kiddie porn, etc. They know that the only ones they will catch are the truly stupid but should some plot succeed somewhere and it turns out plans were on a laptop, at least they can say 'we were searching and causing inconveniences, but we can't search everything'. Usually enough of an excuse to save the jobs of some important person after an epic fail.

                      Its when we as a society accept that we cannot be perfectly safe and that to be free means accepting some risk at times, only then can we achieve some balance that makes everyone happy.
                      Never drink anything larger than your head!





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                      • #26
                        Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                        If a person is so scary that you need to see his laptop and cell phone, why are we letting them in the country to begin with?!

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                        • #27
                          Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                          this is too much, now they violate the privacy of a citizen ....
                          not weird, this is not new actually, but this make that MORE evident .....
                          anyways, it's matter of see how much they check your stuff :) (surely there are thousands of ways to hide stuff of them. i don't know, but, it's matter of letting the creativity FLOW !)

                          actually, i don't understand why they do this, i mean, a terrorist will never be so stupid (or maybe yes? i don't think so .. )

                          as xor said "they can have my laptop when they pry it from my cold dead hands."

                          anyways, i live on argentina, but i had on mind the idea of going to USA :S

                          here the things are more soft =D

                          Adieu !
                          It's not about lines lenght, it's about performance ...

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                          • #28
                            Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                            Originally posted by D4rk.V4mp1r3 View Post
                            this is too much, now they violate the privacy of a citizen ....
                            not weird, this is not new actually, but this make that MORE evident .....
                            anyways, it's matter of see how much they check your stuff :) (surely there are thousands of ways to hide stuff of them. i don't know, but, it's matter of letting the creativity FLOW !)

                            as xor said "they can have my laptop when they pry it from my cold dead hands."
                            I can remember Amsterdam airport 30 years ago when it was not uncommon to see armed soldiers with M16's all around the boarding areas and throughout the airport. Terrorism in Europe and many others nations is not as newbee as it is to us since 9/11.

                            Granted, if anyone really wanted to get a laptop or even parts of a bomb for reconstruction at the other end they could simply courier ahead so it would be there when they arrived. Judging by the luggage handling abuse at airports it might be more prudent to mail your laptop ahead to your destination fully insured.
                            Last edited by Greyhatter; February 14, 2008, 13:31.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                              What interests me is the process. If someone wants to manually surf the contents of my laptop as a requirement to cross a checkpoint and return home... then I likely wouldn’t fuss as my potential exposure is low.

                              I would be more concerned if they were to attach it to a harness. Once attached to a harness my device is no longer protected by the inspector's skill level and instead vulnerable to a myriad of automated forensics. The replication or imaging of whole volumes for deeper analysis at a later time would be possible. It may not be completely feasible for all devices but possible.
                              If a chicken and a half, can lay an egg and a half, in a day and a half... how long would it take a monkey, with a wooden leg, to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?

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                              • #30
                                Re: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive

                                that's the point, the inspector skill level ...
                                how trained they are ....
                                if all can be hide with a rootkit (for say it in some way, for example, if you got windows, make a driver for hide stuff), or if they're not so stupid, so, if anyone gets information, or a experience with this,post, because that really will enlight some stuff for make our privacy rights effective ...
                                any experience with this ?

                                ah, by the ways,that mess is only on the airports, but, if you want to make small travels, would be insteresting take a bus for avoid all this crap, ¿ don't you think ? :S

                                (sorry for my english, I'm working on it ... I actually speak spanish )


                                Au Revoir !
                                It's not about lines lenght, it's about performance ...

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