WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY LOST
Although the Department of Homeland Security is not in the habit of photocopying the business papers contained in a businessman’s briefcase as he enters the country it is apparently in the habit of seizing and copying the contents of electronic media including laptops, digital film and portable data storage devices.
An unwary traveler can have his entire business filing system removed for an undetermined amount of time if he makes the mistake of keeping it all on his personal laptop and passes through customs. Even if it is just the notes taken on his recent business trip the disruption to commerce and a business small or large can be enormous. Most major companies now require employees to pass through customs with a “clean” laptop to avoid these possibilities.
After reading the opinion of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding this practice I came across a few other tidbits.
In Carney, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that
evidence obtained from a warrantless search of a mobile
home should be suppressed because it was “capable of functioning
as a home.” Id. at 387-88, 393-94. The Supreme Court
refused to treat a mobile home differently from other vehicles
just because it could be used as a home. Id. at 394-95. The
two main reasons that the Court gave in support of its holding,
were: (1) that a mobile home is “readily movable,” and (2)
that “the expectation [of privacy] with respect to one’s automobile
is significantly less than that relating to one’s home or
office.” Id. at 391 (quotation marks omitted).
So if you live in a mobile home the Fourth Amendment does not apply to you.
Moreover, case law does not support a finding that a search
which occurs in an otherwise ordinary manner, is “particularly offensive” simply due to the storage capacity of theobject being searched. See California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S.
565, 576 (1991) (refusing to find that “looking inside a closed
container” when already properly searching a car was unreasonable
when the Court had previously found “destroying the
interior of an automobile” to be reasonable in Carroll v.
United States, 267 U.S. 132 (1925)).
If you live in a mobile home the interior can be destroyed in a search without a warrant and it is already totally legal.
See Also Raw Story.
Filed under: Politics