Saturday, March 24, 2007

Border crossings: searching random laptops for porn

It seems some custom officials feel obliged to search some laptops for pornography. It's not clear if this is a work mandate or a personal mission. They may or may not have a "profile" to search; it seems that carrying a personal versus corporate laptop may be a red flag. Tom Kyte (via Schneier) tells the story:
The Tom Kyte Blog: Crossing the border...

... The person doing the search - they were afraid of the computer. They did not use one. They did not know what they were looking for. They did not know how to look for it. I felt like giving him POINTERS as we were going through this. I had to bite my tongue and refrain from giving him tips. The reason - the last person on the planet you want to annoy - the customs people at a border crossing. They can really ruin your day if they want to...
Customs officials have unlimited power in their domain, Kyte knows better than to annoy them in any way. I wonder what they do if they find a picture of the 3 yo standing in the tub. Probably seize the laptop at the least.

I suspect they're following some idiotic mandate arising from some incompetent legislative action from the past (GOP) congress. It will take a long time to undo the mountain of stupidity congress belched up between 2000 and 2006.

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