Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-attributed to Benjamin Franklin

I shared that Homeland Security had searched my stuff for 3 1/2 hours at the Portland Airport. I was trying to follow up on this before I shared more, but after sending a letter to them a while back, I still haven't heard back anything. Searching my stuff is fine, for 3 1/2 hours, and grilling me also okay- they have a job to do. And they did it with kindness. But searching through my computer, despite my repeatedly asking for it's return, not so much. Turns out that when I got the computer back, I happened to notice a number of emails were opened. (I always leave them unread.) And the most recent files were not files that I had opened in a long time. Some were clearly private, such as those marked "Journal". Not only was I not asked for permission to read those files, I was not even informed that Homeland had done so. I'd be the last to say there is an inherent "right to privacy" as enshrined in Roe v. Wade. But I should still have the choice to decide what to divulge, at least, when no warrent is present. Evidently, the new laws of this nation of freedom mean that the government can now search your laptop and anything on your possession- as you go through an airport, you give up the rights to all civil liberties that were supposedly enshrined in the constitution. It would appear that even a Fortune 500 executive's laptop could be searched, and corporate secrets discovered. (I don't refer to oil company executives, of course.) I've yet to hear any explanation from the government about this, or even a justification.

I remember when I had freedom once, back in Morocco. Hopefully I won't disappear in the next 24 hours after posting this. Better mirror this site now.

5 comments:

drh said...

Sorry about your laptop experience. I went through a five-hour interrogation once on my way into a certain Middle Eastern country that has recently made headlines for going ballistic on a northern neighbor. Having strangers go through my stuff felt extremely intrusive, even though they had a job to do and a British citizen had blown himself up in their country just a few weeks earlier.

I look forward to hearing what kind of short-term employment snaps into place for you.

Joe said...

Ouch, it's worse than I thought! This is more intrusive and inconvenient than wiretapping, IMO. You should try to find a sympathetic ear in the news media and see if you get a few red flags raised.

On the other hand, at least they let you in ;)

@bdul muHib said...

I'm sorry. I've been informed that I can have no further contact with you, or continue to post on this blog, on the advice of my lawyers.

;-)

Mike said...

Dang! 3 1/2 hours?! I don't care much about the privacy thing, but traveling with 2 kids, I'm super-glad this didn't happen last weekend. 3 1/2 hours. Man.

@bdul muHib said...

Did you hear? Now, after the latest issues, they are imposing tough new regulations beginning next week. You may now only fly naked. (Actually, as I recall Mike, you guys will be just fine with that :-)