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View Diary: Police Seize Journalists Notes About RNC Protest Plans (281 comments)

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    hcc in VA

    The distinction is legal, but before I veer there...

    My original comment was a reply to your comment challenging Frank Palmer's comment that 'They can't stop someone without a charge. They damn-well can't seize notes witout a charge or a search warrant...'

    And he is perfectly correct: under the 4th amendment they can't domestically.

    However, your reply failed to acknowledge this distinction, and hence my reply to your reply.

    To which kyril replied to the effect that computer seizures happened on domestic flights -- to which I posted the reply to which you now reply.

    Note that 'so you think if it's international it's just fine' is implied nowhere in the above exchanges.

    As to what I actually think on people (re)entering the country... seizures without probable cause are unconstitutional.

    However, the right to inspect the contents of the computer of international travelers is not. In the controlling case brought before the courts, for example, the customs inspector found what he believed was child porn (the man who owned the computer was subsequently indicted).

    The courts have long held that searches of any item brought (back) into the country are legal. For instance, where an officer of the law cannot legally stop and search a vehicle without probable cause domestically, that right does not apply to a vehicle (re)entering the country.

    But again, seizures without probable cause are unconstitutional IMO. As is the copying or duplication of any legal content on the computer -- which is high on the list of where the reoccurring abuse is taking place, and should be the source of much outrage.

    p.s. Domestic inspections of computers should be limited to hidden weapons, etc., and the contents inviolate IMO.

    The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

    by two roads on Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 12:24:19 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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