US Govt: Your Laptop, NOW

This pisses me off.  Our government is mugging travelers and taking their laptops, the better to snoop with.  (Slashdot, emphasis mine):

Angus McKraken brings us a Washington Post story about how travelers are seeking more well-defined policies and rules about the search and seizure of electronic devices by U.S. Customs officials. The EFF has already taken legal action over similar concerns. We recently discussed the related issue of requiring people to disclose their passwords in order to search their private data. From the Post: “Maria Udy, a marketing executive with a global travel management firm in Bethesda, said her company laptop was seized by a federal agent as she was flying from Dulles International Airport to London in December 2006. Udy, a British citizen, said the agent told her he had ‘a security concern’ with her. ‘I was basically given the option of handing over my laptop or not getting on that flight,’ she said. ‘I was assured that my laptop would be given back to me in 10 or 15 days,’ said Udy, who continues to fly into and out of the United States. She said the federal agent copied her log-on and password, and asked her to show him a recent document and how she gains access to Microsoft Word. She was asked to pull up her e-mail but could not because of lack of Internet access. With ACTE’s help, she pressed for relief. More than a year later, Udy has received neither her laptop nor an explanation.

Maybe bullshit like this will end up on the TSA’s sloppy PR blog.  Its purportedly there to answer questions:

The federal government wants to hear — or at least read — your gripes at the “Evolution of Security” blog the Transportation Security Administration introduced Wednesday. And it promises those complaints and suggestions won’t vanish into thin air.

The blog, at http://www.tsa.gov/blog, is getting a rather “blah” response from aviation analysts and passengers advocates who say it will do little to improve process or perception.

“This will just make it easier for them to receive complaints for them to ignore in the name of national security,” said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.

Perhaps they can explain how this is anything other than blatant data theft.

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