Customs searched laptop for child ****.
Jul 30, 2007 at 2:45 AM Post #61 of 95

tyrion

Can Jam '08 Lead Organizer
Joined
Dec 25, 2003
Posts
10,904
Likes
33
Quote:

Originally Posted by Samgotit /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Many positions with customs do (page 2):
http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...specialist.pdf

Tyrion, earlier you used "reasonable suspicion". Is that legally different than probable cause (i.e., is it more encompassing)?



They are not the same. Reasonable suspicion is an easier standard. Probable cause is what is needed to arrest and and reasonable suspicion is what is needed to stop or detain. I don't practice criminal law so these statements, I believe, are generally accurate.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 6:21 PM Post #62 of 95

gjustice

Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Posts
60
Likes
10
The sad thing is they can only catch idiots, who most likely just have it for their own personal use. While i feel no sympathy for them I would much rather they catch the people who make and distribute it on a large scale. On a side note, assuming they knew what they were doing and searched my computer(frist gen MacBook Pro) for all images they would come up with over 12,500 results...
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 6:54 PM Post #63 of 95

Cousin Patty

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Posts
1,569
Likes
14
The way I see it, if you're an adult, you have every legal right to have pics and videos of LEGAL pornograpy on your laptop if you want to. You shouldnt have to encrypt anything or back anything up beforehand. Period. Some ****** at customs does NOT have the right to go through your laptop in front of everyone (possibly family, friends etc...) invading your privacy, and causing embarassment without prior notice. They need to get to the root of the problem instead thinking theyre accomplishing anything by pulling over the average joe at customs. Searching a PC is not the same as searching your person or vehicle IMO. Like others have said, whats the procedure if they were to find LEGAL **** that you've obtained legitimately? Who's to stop some dude from saying "yeah, that girls not legal". I mean What...what a mess.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 7:28 PM Post #64 of 95

tyrion

Can Jam '08 Lead Organizer
Joined
Dec 25, 2003
Posts
10,904
Likes
33
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cousin Patty /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The way I see it, if you're an adult, you have every legal right to have pics and videos of LEGAL pornograpy on your laptop if you want to. You shouldnt have to encrypt anything or back anything up beforehand. Period. Some ****** at customs does NOT have the right to go through your laptop in front of everyone (possibly family, friends etc...) invading your privacy, and causing embarassment without prior notice. They need to get to the root of the problem instead thinking theyre accomplishing anything by pulling over the average joe at customs. Searching a PC is not the same as searching your person or vehicle IMO. Like others have said, whats the procedure if they were to find LEGAL **** that you've obtained legitimately? Who's to stop some dude from saying "yeah, that girls not legal". I mean What...what a mess.


Assuming for the moment that they do have the right to conduct the search, if you are concerned with being emabarrassed by have legal **** on your computer than you better remove it before flying internationally.

Remember, the reason for these searches is not security at an airport, it's to prevent illegal material and criminals from entering the country.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 7:44 PM Post #66 of 95

Cousin Patty

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Posts
1,569
Likes
14
Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Assuming for the moment that they do have the right to conduct the search, if you are concerned with being emabarrassed by have legal **** on your computer than you better remove it before flying internationally.


I guess what bothers me most, is that legit, legal, pornography could potentially cause problems, ruin someone's life, etc... because its being brought out into the open without your consent (what other choice do you have but to agree to the search?). If theyre going to do these kinds of searches at least have the laptop in question removed to an office or something...

I guess my problem is HOW they conduct the search and the grey areas involved, as opposed to WHY. Obviously, catching someone with child **** is a good thing...
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 8:27 PM Post #67 of 95

boomana

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 28, 2006
Posts
5,817
Likes
26
Quote:

Originally Posted by gjustice /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The sad thing is they can only catch idiots, who most likely just have it for their own personal use. While i feel no sympathy for them I would much rather they catch the people who make and distribute it on a large scale. On a side note, assuming they knew what they were doing and searched my computer(frist gen MacBook Pro) for all images they would come up with over 12,500 results...


WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? REALLY. THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS!!!

Many people who engage in kiddie p*rn also abuse children through direct sexual contact. Some save pictures of themselves in at least some of the photos with the children they have abused. I imagine at least a few of those idiots returning from vacations in foreign countries, where they felt free to abuse children, have trophy photos. Would you prefer those men be stopped at the border or return to your neighborhood, where their actions may go unreported, if ever, for years?

Between 1969 and 1974, a well respected and trusted man in my upscale suburban neighborhood sexually abused over seven neighborhood girls that I personally know between the ages of 10 and 14. All were friends of his daughter, whom he also abused, and who was the same age. All incidents involved getting the girls very drunk (he was also a drunk), abusing them and sometimes taking photos (he also had his own darkroom). His wife knew what was going on, saw the photos, and did nothing. None of the girls told any adult until years later and only after the man was dead. They did not even tell each other and only found out long after they were adults and had children of their own. This obviously occured during pre-computer days, but he loved those photos and used them for his own "personal use" regularly. I have no doubt they would have been on his laptop with him at all times had laptops been invented.

Also, during the same time period, the local pediatrician abused young girls similarly, and sadly, some of same girls who had been victimized by the first man were abused by their own doctor as well (not in the office, but at his home). He was caught because he had photos (two decades worth) that he had scanned into his laptop, which he had accidentally left on an airplane. He fled to India, where, as far as I know, he still lives.

I'm not sure what I think about our government's right to search computers at the border. I have conflicting opinions and am aware that my personal and very emotional opinions aren't necessarily the best place to start when talking about what is legally right. But isn't the purpose to stop illegal goods and criminals from entering the country? I have no legal background, but shouldn't the rules for searching private property be a bit different? We don't question the searches of purses and suitcases? If they can look through my bras and panties, which I consider pretty personal, why the heck can't they look through my computer?

Regarding what customs may find, if I think about what I know about my male friends, I doubt a customs officer could even muster a yawn over yet another adult p*rn video or naked girlfriend shot. Savvier child abusers surely know about customs checks and wouldn't have any evidence of their activities on their computers, but what about the "idiots" who do? Haven't you guys seen those MSNBC shows? There's no shortage of dangerous idiots out there. Border searches may yield barely a drop in the bucket of child predators caught vs. those still out there, but considering most abuse multiple children, is it worth it?
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 8:46 PM Post #68 of 95

marvin

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Posts
2,580
Likes
17
How exactly does searching for *.jpgs on a laptop differ from searching for 4"x6" glossies in a backpack? Customs certainly has the right to do the latter when searching for contraband, I don't see how that power wouldn't extend to searching computers.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 9:12 PM Post #69 of 95

DanG

Headphoneus Supremus
Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,796
Likes
10
The difference is it's a security risk to have a stranger looking through your computer. The other difference is that nobody ever warns you that your laptop is subject to search. I've flown internationally countless times and nobody has ever told me that customs could search my computer.

Then again, nobody has ever searched my computer. And thankfully, I never planned on visiting Thailand anyway.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 9:38 PM Post #70 of 95

vagarach

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Posts
1,562
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion /img/forum/go_quote.gif
That is quite a generalization. I think US Customs Agents require at least a Bachelors Degree, as do most Federal law enforcement positions.


Right you are, I was very wrong, and my experience with customs agents doesn't help my perspective. Let's just say they haven't acted like they were educated people.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 9:48 PM Post #71 of 95

kerelybonto

doo-di-doo-di-dum doo-di-dum doo-di-doo-di-dum
Joined
May 6, 2002
Posts
1,518
Likes
10
Beginning on page 23 of this document is an article about border searches that was written a couple of years ago by one of the DEA's senior lawyers. The article is written mostly with regard to looking for narcotics, so it does not specifically get into searching computers, but I think it adequately illustrates that your legal protections against searches at the border are much more limited than within the United States proper. (International airports and other points where you could first be practicably searched are considered functionally equivalent to borders.)

As tyrion has explained, the standard for conducting a search at the border is much more relaxed than for inland searches. There is no need for "probable cause"; the only standard that must be met is one of "reasonableness," i.e., that the search itself is conducted in a reasonable manner. This has generally been interpreted very leniently. Without any need to meet any standard of suspicion, CBP officers can basically search any of your possessions as long as they do not irreparably damage them. (This is not a threashold, really, it's just that previous decisions have left unclear whether a search than damages property is "reasonable" without any specific suspicion.)

CBP officers can also search your person, e.g., by a fairly non-invasive pat-down, without needing articulate any reason for doing so. Anything further, e.g., a strip search or cavity search, and they have to have some sort of specific suspicion, but this is still a fairly low standard.

Eric
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 9:50 PM Post #72 of 95

boomana

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 28, 2006
Posts
5,817
Likes
26
Quote:

Originally Posted by DanG /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The difference is it's a security risk to have a stranger looking through your computer. The other difference is that nobody ever warns you that your laptop is subject to search.


I actually agree with you on both points, which is why I have conflicting opinions. It's sad, though, that our society still gives the responsibility for catching child predators, in large part, to children and their ability to report, in detail, what's been happening. Catching someone with photos makes it much easier on the child, but I know that's moving into a different topic, so I'll stop.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 9:55 PM Post #73 of 95

Samgotit

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Posts
3,448
Likes
22
Does anyone know if customs' ability to search a laptop is new; that is, is this an expansion of power?

And, does customs even need "Reasonable suspicion" to search a laptop?

Customs' website is not exactly clear about this.

(Actually, there's tons of legal info on the site, but it would take a quite a while to plow through it.)

Edit: This explains (somewhat) the authority to search. I was not that hard to find after all:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/ad..._to_search.xml
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 10:12 PM Post #74 of 95

james__bean

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 13, 2004
Posts
1,029
Likes
22
Quote:

Originally Posted by micaela /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I guess you have been fortunate to never have been a victim of abuse - or to have known someone who was to be aware of the physical damage and threat that it actually poses. Your statement here is grossly naive in regards to this problem.


I was obviously talking about a security threat and not about the threat child pornography in general poses to children. Nobody is going to take a plane hostage with child pornography.
rolleyes.gif


My point is moot though simply because, as tyrion pointed out, this is a customs search and not a security search. I still find the searches to be irresponsible without prior warning, but considering the methods that I've already grown to accept out of customs agents, it would be hypocritical to say that *these* searches are abuses.
 
Jul 30, 2007 at 10:19 PM Post #75 of 95

kerelybonto

doo-di-doo-di-dum doo-di-dum doo-di-doo-di-dum
Joined
May 6, 2002
Posts
1,518
Likes
10
This web-page summarizes a decision in California district court that is very similar to what we're talking about here.

Surprizingly (to me), the judge ruled that the contents of a computer or other electronic storage device “renders a search of their contents substantially more intrusive than a search of the contents of a lunchbox or other tangible object.” Hence, he ruled that a higher standard of suspicion must be met before searching computers and the like; therefore, such a search cannot be made as routine practice, that is, without specific cause for suspicion of its contents.

I haven't checked, but I don't think this decision has yet been reviewed by an appellate court. I would think the government would appeal this, so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Eric
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top