Friday, January 15, 2010

Seizure of Laptops at Borders

The policy of some countries to randomly search and seize laptops of visitors at border checkpoints has been under fire by many civil liberties groups. Most recently, the American Civil Liberties Union has begun the process of launching a class action seeking to cause changes in the existing practices in the US. One can see the need for search and seizure of laptops and other electronic devices in certain circumstances, but there are significant privacy issues involved, and the governmental policies should recognize these issues. A clear and transparent policy is required. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "The man who sacrifices his freedom to achieve security deserves neither." Increasingly, as security policies driven by fear are tightened, we need to be aware of the sacrifices being made of our freedom. This is happening not just in the US, but also in Canada and other countries.

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