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.

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.

The big American tourism welcome

As a country the United States is sometimes hard to understand. On one hand, we claim to want to have foreign tourists visit us for both the interpersonal interactions and for the positive balance of trade that tourism produces. On the other hand, we treat incoming airline passengers like criminals and charge everyone who wants to visit.

Global Entry — A faster way through customs?

Global Entry is a preferred traveler program for people considered low risk by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Members of the program are granted “expedited entry” into the US (government speak for you get to skip all of the lines) in exchange for submitting to a background investigation and interview.

Tarmac-delay rules not increasing flight cancellations

After a bogus, apparently airline-financed study claimed that the new tarmac-delay rules were causing airlines to cancel an extraordinary number of flights, a dispassionate study of delays shows that cancellations showed a small gain, mostly due to weather and the volcanic ash problems.

U.S. raising fees for both inbound and outbound travelers

Under a series of new laws and regulatory proposals, almost everyone traveling internationally to or from the USA — U.S. passport holders, visa-free foreign visitors, and foreigners with visas — would have to pay more in government fees for the required credentials and/or permissions.

Are new Passport Cards a gateway to counterfeit citizenship?

While driving around San Francisco, a security researcher with a scanner captured and cloned Passport Card RFIDs. Security experts have stated the Cards are easily counterfeited. Ned Levi ponders whether any citizen should obtain a Passport Card.