Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Audacity of Audacity

There's the audacity of hope, the mantra of Barack Obama. Then there's the audacity of audacity.

The quote of the day is this:

Customs Deputy Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern said the efforts "do not infringe on Americans' privacy."
Ahern is referring to the disclosure of the Homeland Security's policy that allows border patrol agents to confiscate laptops and other electronic equipment of anyone ( citizens or not) for any reason -- with or without suspicion of wrongdoing.

It seems like a long time ago, in a land far, far away, but there was a time when this country had laws -- and constitutional protections. No more. We have empty words of freedom liberty, contrasted with absolute government control.

I've touched on the issue of the loss of rights as we travel before. The latest iteration is reported in the Washington Post, Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border:

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.

DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

And please explain to me how this is NOT an infringement on our privacy, as Ahern asserts? Your personal information is subject to seizure by the government at any time without justification and that doesn't infringe privacy rights? I guess it depends on the meaning of privacy. And if you have none, there can be no infringement.

Of course, I am also sure that this disclosure of the border search rules no doubt means that the rules also apply to travel within the borders of these United States -- we just haven't been told about them yet. One thing at a time. Once the liberals stop whining about the border searches of laptops, the word will come out that the same steps are necessary for all travel -- for our protection, of course. And -- it won't infringe our privacy either.

As Balloon Juice said, addressing this and other related violations of our liberties:

And I could go on and on. There are far more serious and dangerous violations of your civil liberties happening every day done in the name of safety and the war on drugs and the war on terror, all committed by nameless, faceless, and unaccountable folks, and there is really nothing you can do about it. Fight back and you will be shot or tasered to death, or jailed for resisting arrest if you are lucky. And no one, that I can tell, other than Russ Feingold, the corpse of William kunstler, a few folks at Reason magazine, and some DFH’s, seems to give a shit.

See also, Brendan Calling, who believes that the real goal is "intimidation and anti-government propaganda in action."

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