Halt! Who goes there?

This is a discussion on Halt! Who goes there? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; And what about trade-secrets that I may have on my machine - for example not-yet released source code, material under ...

  1. #16
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    And what about trade-secrets that I may have on my machine - for example not-yet released source code, material under NDA (or other strict licensing) - are they supposed to look at that too?

    Reading the original article in The Mirror's web-site [the UK's Most Reliable News Source - Not!], it seems like they are looking for photographs [of what?] amongst other things - so if I have my 6500 JPG files that I have taken with my 24MP Canon EOS 1DsMk3 [no, I personally haven't got one of those] on my machine, taking up some considerable space - how do they deal with that?

    But reading between the lines, it seems like "It's legal for customs officers to search your laptop", but I don't equal that with "they will ALWAYS SEARCH EVERYONES laptop" - I believe that is typical Tabloid scare "don't tell all the details, let the reader add the missing parts and make it bigger".

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  2. #17
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matsp View Post
    But reading between the lines, it seems like "It's legal for customs officers to search your laptop", but I don't equal that with "they will ALWAYS SEARCH EVERYONES laptop" - I believe that is typical Tabloid scare "don't tell all the details, let the reader add the missing parts and make it bigger".
    Agreed, but it's not so much a matter of "Search EVERYONES laptop" as it is a matter that everyone is a potential victim of this. If you've been in an airport recently (in almost any modern country), you know that you may - at random - be pulled aside, questioned, and have you bag searched. I've had it happen to me twice since 2001 and nothing has come of it other than some wrinkled clothing.

    As for the "Trade-Secrets"... that goes along the same lines of having perhaps nude photos of yourself or partner on your computer... you're supposed to accept that they will only be looking at your data objectively and not subjectively... they shouldn't be taking your ideas, they shouldn't be oggling pictures of your girlfriend, they shouldn't be doing anything of that sort... couldn't say that they wouldn't do this. However if they did, you would certainly have a case against them. I know there are some doctors out there that have touched my girlfriend's body in ways that I normally wouldn't approve, however, I'm not about to break into their offices and sock them for it... it's because I trust that they're being professional about it. So maybe the real issue here is how qualified and mature our border officials can be.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 05-07-2008 at 02:22 PM.
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  3. #18
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    No. Sorry. This can't be true. It just can't. Some late April's Fool?

    Do I, a foreign citizen visiting USA, need to teach USA officials about their own constitution?

    Read my lips... It's... ilegal! Want my HD contents? Make me a suspect, read my rights, book me and get a warrant. Otherwise get the f... of my way.
    While you are standing in Customs you are not technically within the United States, and as a non-citizen you don't have any "rights" anyway -- convenient huh?

  4. #19
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    While you are standing in Customs you are not technically within the United States, and as a non-citizen you don't have any "rights" anyway -- convenient huh?
    Yes. Abachler also mentioned this and it's correct. Something I was forgetting about.

    However, careful with the "I have no rights" just because I'm not an American citizen. This is not correct. International Law and my own country laws can force USA representatives onto courts. Make no mistake, I have rights. What I don't have is the ability to demand the same rights as a USA citizen. Which is perfectly acceptable. However, quite frankly, I wouldn't even dream of that. My country laws are currently more respectful of civil liberties and my right to privacy.

    Truth the matter is that I, a foreign citizen can't do a thing about it. I either accept it, or not travel there, or take the next flight home, or don't travel with a cellphone or a laptop. According to general international agreements, this only means sooner or later other countries will enforce similar rulings in the name of equality of treatment (there's an actual name for this which I can't remember). Curiously enough many countries constitutions specifically prohibit this. It will be interesting to see American citizens being the ones who will suffer the most about it, on their own borders and other international borders.

    But... probably, as citizen (our citizen) mentioned, this will probably soon be revoked, stupid as it is. So it may no longer become a problem.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  5. #20
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I haven't had a problem, yet... and I've lived here my whole life. Sure, I've had situations where perhaps my privacy was unjustifiably invaded... however, it's never amounted to anything more than a hassle to me. If you had nothing to hide and you have no problem accepting that they are peeking into your privacy with only an objective mindset... then it never should be anything more than a hassle.

    Secondly, I don't know the situation with Portugal... I was only there once when I was very little and don't remember much except a few landmarks... however, I have certainly had the same privacy invasions in England, Italy, Romania, Greece... none of which have amounted to anything more than a hassle for the same reasons that I stated above. This isn't an American concept and there is nothing non-democratic about the people and government being able to make interpretations about laws that were defined well before the issues of today could even be comprehended. People don't seem to remember that the founding fathers of my country were more hot-headed and blood-thirsty than most of the modern public... I don't know how we can take their laws to heart so exactly when we don't even really know how they would feel if they were around today.
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  6. #21
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    International Law and my own country laws can force USA representatives onto courts.
    The international court doesnt have jurisdiction over the U.S., we opted out of that. One of the few things Dubya did that I agree with.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    Agreed, but it's not so much a matter of "Search EVERYONES laptop" as it is a matter that everyone is a potential victim of this. If you've been in an airport recently (in almost any modern country), you know that you may - at random - be pulled aside, questioned, and have you bag searched. I've had it happen to me twice since 2001 and nothing has come of it other than some wrinkled clothing.

    As for the "Trade-Secrets"... that goes along the same lines of having perhaps nude photos of yourself or partner on your computer... you're supposed to accept that they will only be looking at your data objectively and not subjectively... they shouldn't be taking your ideas, they shouldn't be oggling pictures of your girlfriend, they shouldn't be doing anything of that sort... couldn't say that they wouldn't do this. However if they did, you would certainly have a case against them. I know there are some doctors out there that have touched my partner's body in ways that I normally wouldn't approve, however, I'm not about to break into their offices and sock them for it... it's because I trust that they're being professional about it. So maybe the real issue here is how qualified and mature our border officials can be.
    But I am working on code that the source code is restricted even within the company I'm working in - so I can't just grab any of my collegues and get him/her to look at some code that I'm working on, but rather that I need to ensure that the person has "right" to see the code. I am, however, allowed to take my laptop on a trip, should I need to.

    And I beat you on the "random search" thingy. I've been to the US about 5 times since 2001 when they introduced the stricter random search - and I have been let out again ONCE without being searched. It may be because I'm a citizen of Sweden, but I live in the UK, so that triggers some "must be suspect" switch in the system. On one trip I got searched BOTH when I left Austin and Houston on the same trip back to the UK...

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  8. #23
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Hmm... I'm pretty sure you weren't asked to turn your laptop on and its contents were inspected. This is not the same as looking in your suitcase, Sly. I don't know how exactly to explain it. But it just isn't the same.

    I don't want my family pictures, my vacation in Mongolia pictures, my emails, my work files, my porn, my personal notes, my game habits, my computer usage habits, etc. etc. inspected without some real reason behind it. My right to privacy is not a crime. I have the right to privacy.

    Even if I don't have anything to hide, I have the right to not give away my personal life details. The fact my laptop or my cellphone can be searched or confiscated without an explanation or reason behind is an attack on my rights. And it can quickly degenerate into an attack at my company rights, or the rights of anyone in one of the emails, pictures or notes in my laptop, or on my cellphone.

    EDIT:
    >> The international court doesnt have jurisdiction over the U.S., we opted out of that. One of the few things Dubya did that I agree with.

    I said laws. Not court. International laws and trade agreements and other similar agreements that may put this ruling in the limelight if trade secrets and other business relationships are put at risk.

    As for the international court, I'm not going to even discuss what I think of what you think of it. We would get into an argument. Forget it.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 05-07-2008 at 04:03 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #24
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Well the simple answer is to encrypt your data and keep the key seperate. Its unlikely they even look at 1&#37; of what the copy.

    As for yrou rights Mario, I sympathize, but the fact is when requesting entry into a foreign country, you either have to play ball or go home. Sure, you can refuse to submit to the search, but they can just refuse to let you in. And most of the time even under international law, you do not have the rigth to refuse a search in an airport. When travellign by air, you do NOT have the reasonable expectation of privacy.
    Last edited by abachler; 05-07-2008 at 04:04 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  10. #25
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    Thousands of laptops and other devices are carried across the border every day without being searched. This will not affect 99&#37; of the population (I made up that number). As the wired.com blog stated, the ruling is just an extension of the existing ruling that your vehicle can be searched without cause when you enter the country. There isn't a whole lot of new worries here.

  11. #26
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I don't want my family pictures, my vacation in Mongolia pictures, my emails, my work files, my porn, my personal notes, my game habits, my computer usage habits, etc. etc. inspected without some real reason behind it. My right to privacy is not a crime. I have the right to privacy.
    I might be paraphrasing somebody, but you really only have those rights you are willing to kill for. Otherwise they will walk all over you.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    Well the simple answer is to encrypt your data and keep the key seperate. Its unlikely they even look at 1% of what the copy,
    But if that is the way to circumvent the rules, why don't the criminals/terrorists use this method anyways?

    I know that refusing to give your name (and provide some form of verification) to the police here in the UK, even if you are legitimately going about your business [although they do have to suspect you are doing something illegal in some way - e.g driving without insurance for example], will make them take you to jail until they can verify your identity. This is, supposedly, so that criminals can't just say "Won't tell you" when the police asks who they are when they suspect they are someone they should arrest (e.g. wanted for a crime).

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  13. #28
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I don't want my family pictures, my vacation in Mongolia pictures, my emails, my work files, my porn, my personal notes, my game habits, my computer usage habits, etc. etc. inspected without some real reason behind it. My right to privacy is not a crime. I have the right to privacy.

    Even if I don't have anything to hide, I have the right to not give away my personal life details. The fact my laptop or my cellphone can be searched or confiscated without an explanation or reason behind is an attack on my rights. And it can quickly degenerate into an attack at my company rights, or the rights of anyone in one of the emails, pictures or notes in my laptop, or on my cellphone.
    Like I said... you just have to understand that they're looking at it objectively, not subjectively. I can understand your immediate embarrassment if an airport official were to glaze over your hard drive and see what adult sites you've been to... maybe you feel as though some a very perverse... but honestly, does it mean anything in the long run? Do you think you have anything on your laptop that they haven't seen hundreds of times? Do you think there is any difference between your family pictures and the family pictures of the guy in line behind you? Are you the only one on the airplane that has a heavy interest in video games? Hell... I bet there isn't a personal note on your laptop that isn't being written or thought of by someone right this moment.

    The fact is... like all of us, you are probably more average than you realize... and the person who inspects your computer is not going to remember a thing s/he saw on it a half hour after you board the airplane or step foot in the country. I don't know... maybe any initial embarrassment lingers around for a longer time in you than it does in me... but if there is one thing I've realize on this earth, it's that even though no innocent person is absolutely safe from incorrect accusation from the law, as long as I know I've done nothing wrong, there are certainly too many higher risk things out there that I would rather spend my time worrying about.

    That said, I have no respect for this law because it does nothing to add security to me, as a citizen, and it will surely cost me tax dollars when they realize they need better staffing and equipment to run this procedure. This is so unbelievably easy to circumvent, that it's absurd to me to think that a bunch of grown men, no matter how computer illiterate they are, sat in a room and decided that this would help keep people safe.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 05-07-2008 at 05:41 PM.
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  14. #29
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    I always get pulled over at airports, usually because I'm going shooting and customs get very uptight about that. For example, my last trip -- we'd already checked in our luggage and had 8 hours to kill in the airport (don't ask why ). So we walked round with our little cammo day bag, at every customs gate we were frisked and swobbed for explosives (only the person who was wearing the cammo backpack, we changed a few times).

    Don't ask what this has to do with anything

  15. #30
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    My funniest moment was in Toronto some 6 years ago. My luggage had been lost and had already filled the report. Was walking the green line when someone asked me to move to the red. My backapck was inspected and it had a pair of shoes, some dirty socks in a bag, a packet of chips and my sandshoes.

    They never asked one question. Would just walk away, someone looking at me from around the corner, coming around, looking at the contents, talking between themselves, looking at my passport, moving out again... after around 30 minutes of awkwardness someone finally points out "is this all you bring into Canada?".... bemused, I shown them my lost luggage slip.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 05-07-2008 at 08:11 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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