How do you feel about having your laptop searched at the border?

A recent court decision found that border guards can search your laptop computer. Hell, why stop at the border. They can already search your luggage at the airport on a domestic flight – and that seems to be the rationale the courts are using, it’s just like a luggage search – so what makes you think they won’t start searching your laptop too. And why not? The only way to really ensure that there are no thieves or terrorists in our midst is to pry into the private lives of every one of us – our phone calls, our letters, our computers. Well, that’s not 100% true. The only way to REALLY eliminate all crime and terrorism is for the government to simply kill everyone – or at least a few tens of thousands (we don’t have soccer stadiums, but perhaps football fields will do).

This is what happens when old men, like John McCain, frankly, try to make important decisions about new technology. They don’t understand it, so they screw up. A search of a laptop computer, or a cell phone, is not a search of your luggage. It’s a search of luggage that happens to contain the equivalent of a tape recording of every phone conversation you’ve had in the past ten years. Luggage that contains details of your sex life, including possible a recorded history of it. Luggage that includes your medical history. Nude photos of your spouse, or yourself. Your personal diary. A computer is not the same thing as an electric razor or a radio. It’s an incredibly intimate look into the life of the bearer, and old men who know nothing about the brave new world of technology shouldn’t be in the position of deciding how personal a computer really is (or isn’t).


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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