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Old August 1st, 2008, 08:44 PM   #1
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Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border

Hi All,
Did you see that?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...1/laptops.html
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:14 PM   #2
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More than just laptops…

U.S. border agents given power to seize travellers' laptops, cellphones

At any point of entry into the US, agents may "seize and detain travellers' electronic devices" which "may then be copied and shared with other government agencies." According to the policy, the search "may take place on-site or at an off-site location."

The linked article states "If the authorities find there is not probable cause to hold the seized items, copies must be destroyed, according to the policy. The policy does not outline a timeframe in which materials must be returned."

What is the pretense for their increased powers (and further lack of transparency and accountability)? They claim "examinations help authorities detect possible instances of terrorism, narcotics smuggling, child pornography and violations of copyright and trademark laws."

I don't want to turn this into a political rant (which I am dangerously close to doing, so I'll step back a bit). What does this -- in practical terms -- mean for people like us who may be crossing the border with our gear and intellectual property?
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:28 PM   #3
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No politics here, please... there is no beneficial point to discussing politics in an online community. Nobody worth his or her salt is going to change their political stance over something they read on a forum, and the only thing that a political issue can do to an online community is polarize it, which is never a good thing.

Therefore I will remove any and all political opinions from public view (please use your own blogs / sites / whatever to post political content). Thanks in advance for understanding,
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
What does this -- in practical terms -- mean for people like us who may be crossing the border with our gear and intellectual property?
In practical terms (which is the the only way we can constructively discuss this matter here), I think it involves a couple of housekeeping details.

First, the laptop: I'd keep a separate laptop for editing only, plus web access of course for a web-based email account. Keep personal data off of this machine. Keep previous jobs off of it and use it only for the current overseas project. Have it for business travel purposes only. That way, if it's retained, the less stuff you have on it, the quicker it's more likely to be returned. Plus, since it's a secondary computer, you can continue working without it.

Second, the data: consider copying critical data such as your EDL, project files, etc. to a portable, shippable medium such as a Blu-Ray disc and mail or ship it home instead of carrying it.

Any other ideas?
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 02:00 PM   #5
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I think the operative word in all of this, like so much catchall legislation, is "may" not "will", which means some freedom for discretion by frontline staff.

I think the inconvenience factor, the human resources required, the budget required and the furthur discouragement of travel into the US, may moderate just how broadly this new policy will become implemented.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 2nd, 2008 at 02:03 PM. Reason: error
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Old October 29th, 2008, 05:47 AM   #6
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I travel overseas about 6 times a year on assignment.
I live near Washington DC and return through Dulles Airport.

A few months ago I was asked if I had a laptop with me. I replied yes and then a big "c" was marked on my customs forms. When I went to exit customs they told me to go to the C line to have all my belongings searched. I had never had this happen before in more than 6 years of travel shooting.

When I went to the C line the woman asked me what I did and who I worked for. Also where I had been. She then rolled her eyes and told me to walk on through without being searched.

Last week I returned from a shoot in Asia and I was asked if I was bringing anything with me. I left the "open ended" question alone and just paused and said no.

They let me through with no more questions.

Since I shoot with an EX1 and copy all of my files to a hard drive I am getting nervous about this. I am sure that some day I will loose all of my hard work. I am thinking of making a back up copy overseas and then shipping it to my office before returning home.

This will add time, weight and expense to my trip, but will be better than having the government tie up my footage for several months.

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Old October 29th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #7
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This does raise an interesting thought over newer generation UHD camera systems like the SI2K and RED. The SI2K system is a computer, stripped down and task dedicated but a computer nevertheless.

Maybe better to not leave a drive in them when shipping otherwise that drive might be diverted, then camera diverted by the less technologically up to date operative to enable the files to be examined. This conjures up in my fertile imagination a ridiculous notion.

They get round to attempting to find the C: drive in the suspicious looking SI2K they have just confiscated. Screwdrivers and can-openers fly about as they try to find that hard drive they know is there somewhere because the computer tells them it is there, just that they can't find it because the operating system has gone a bit weird.

Then some nerd with a tirelever in hand speaks up. "Hey guys, this is a neat computer. Its got an extra CPU. This looks vaguely familiar." His associate looks upon the chip he has just pried out. "Naw, I got one of these fits my digital SLR".

Then the penny drops. "Okay ladies. Show's over. Who's gonna put this back thing together."

They all glance sideways and avoid eyecontact with that look which suggests a row of potential volunteers all stepping back a pace to leave a hapless fool out front on his own to be assigned the task.
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