US judge dismisses challenge to suspicionless laptop searches at the border

Judge Edward Korman dismissed the ACLU suit, Abidor v. Napolitano, allowing the US Customs and Border Protection program of random border searches and seizures of electronic devices to continue with no requirement of warrants, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. Ned Levi discusses the CPB program, court rulings which have affected it, and advice for international travelers entering the US.
By |January 6th, 2014|Columns|4 Comments|

Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative out of control

The FBI, Homeland Security, and law enforcement agencies throughout the US are documenting the activities of citizens and visitors in a national database of suspicious behavior, which they deem could be the precursor of criminal or terrorism activities. Ned Levi has examined the NSI program, and found that far too often, the actions of the general public and travelers documented in the database, wouldn't be considered suspicious at all, by a reasonable person.
By |November 11th, 2013|Columns|5 Comments|

Court has ruled some Customs Border Protection searches and confiscations illegal

The Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, has made a new ruling concerning searches and seizures of passenger belongings at the border of the US, stating that CBP agents need to recognize there is an expectation of privacy and can't do a search without a reason. Ned Levi discusses the new ruling and what its effect might be for international travelers.
By |September 16th, 2013|Columns|3 Comments|

International travel by air is a Constitutional right

In a preliminary ruling in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU three years ago on behalf of a group of people who have been prevented by the U.S. government from traveling by air, a Federal judge in Oregon has found (1) that international air travel is a Constitutional right, and (2) that a categorical ban by the government on the exercise of that right can only be issued in accordance with due process.
By |September 5th, 2013|Today|1 Comment|

10 must-know laptop computer security tips for travelers

With laptops being stolen at the rate of almost one per minute, and more than 12,000 laptops going lost or missing at US airports each week, Ned Levi has updated his recommendations for securing your laptop while traveling, preventing its theft, but in case of theft, ensuring, to the extent possible, the integrity of your data and the personal and business information located on your laptop.
By |September 3rd, 2012|Columns|8 Comments|

Travel technology and privacy — how vulnerable are you?

Ned Levi looks at the privacy issues travelers face using electronic devices which hold personal data, or access the Internet, and for travelers which post travel photos on the Internet while traveling.
By |May 2nd, 2011|Columns|8 Comments|

ACLU, NPPA, slam CBP random data searches — big brother reaches into your computers, smartphones and PDA

Since 9/11, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has had a program of random inspection of electronic media at the border. Without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, CBP has confiscated laptops and other electronic devices for weeks or even years. Ned Levi brings you up to date on the latest news about this serious problem for international travelers.
By |September 13th, 2010|Columns|18 Comments|

What we’re reading: Enhanced TSA patdown, Tibet Air chooses A319, ANA plans quick 787 ramp-up

ACLU protests enhanced TSA patdown in Boston and Las Vegas, Tibet Air chooses A319, ANA plans quick 787 ramp-up once planes are flying.

TSA’s swabbing: An extension of good theater and poor security

Ned Levi examines TSA's new random hand swabbing program to detect explosive residue on airplane passengers and finds that it's unlikely to work, despite claims of security experts, mostly because they've focused on the equipment, and not the overall security program of which they are a part.
By |March 8th, 2010|Columns|12 Comments|

Customs and Border Patrol agents are still randomly confiscating laptops — is yours next?

Ned discusses the latest news about the Customs and Border Patrol’s program to randomly search and seize laptops, digital cameras, cellphones and other electronic devices at the border, without warrants, reasonable suspicion or probable cause, and what travelers can do to protect their privacy and security.
By |August 31st, 2009|Columns|8 Comments|