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posted by martyb on Thursday August 17 2017, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the can't-get-past-your-past dept.

A Canadian woman was issued a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. after officials searched her unlocked smartphone, found an email to her doctor about a fentanyl overdose she survived, and asked her questions about her past drug use:

A British Columbia woman was issued a lifetime ban at the US border after officials found an email with her doctor about a fentanyl overdose she survived a year ago.

Chelsea, 28, whose last name is being withheld due to fears that it could affect future employment, answered a series of questions about drug use while attempting to cross the Washington-British Columbia border. She said her phone, which didn't have a password, was searched for about two hours. During questioning after her phone was searched, she admitted to using illegal drugs before, including cocaine.

At the US border, the searching of electronic devices, including smartphones, is allowed as part of inspection. Warrantless searches on phones are also allowed at the Canadian border—a practice defense lawyers are trying to end.

"It was super violating—I couldn't believe they went into my sent emails folder and found something from a year ago that was addressed to my doctor," Chelsea said. "It was really humiliating, and it felt terrible having to bring that up."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a one-page security assessment of the U.S.-Canadian border that identified drug smuggling (including cocaine and fentanyl) as well as "unidentified [Canadian] homegrown violent extremists" as security challenges:

The drugs that are commonly transported into Canada from the United States are cocaine and methamphetamine. Ecstasy, fentanyl and marijuana are smuggled into the U.S. from Canada.

[...] "This report identifies several areas where we can improve border security — especially in combating drug trafficking and preventing potential acts of terrorism," Katko, R-Camillus, said. "Stopping the influx of drugs coming into our country through the northern border is of particular concern, given the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing central New York."


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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday August 17 2017, @05:50PM (9 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday August 17 2017, @05:50PM (#555466)

    We gotta keep out all these druggies and potential terrorists. I say we subject everyone trying to enter the US to a very long border search which includes searching through their phone, computer, and all online accounts (including bank accounts). This will make sure these undesirables won't even want to attempt to come here!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:19PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:19PM (#555478)

      Only way to be sure.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:30PM (5 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:30PM (#555483)

        Thank you, I forgot about that one. Cavity searches for all incoming travelers, by random TSA agents! It'll be great!

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:57PM (2 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:57PM (#555502)

          And a quarantine. The real one, 40 days. You get wifi if you were traveling on business class, but other than that it's prison food and cavity searches every day.
          How badly did you want to come enjoy freedom, punk?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:08PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:08PM (#555611)

            Sounds like extreme petting.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @02:45AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @02:45AM (#555683)

            Naw, screw it. Let's let all the druggie scumbags and terrorists in. They can wreak havoc on our society while they collect welfare, because fuck our own citizens right? Oh by the way your taxes are going to go up to pay for it.. That's ok right?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:00PM (#555503)

          Comprehensive search for everyone: trains, planes, automobiles, bicycles, and office turnstiles.

          Will create so many jobs, the unemployment rate will go negative.

          Shit, then we'll have to import more immigrants.

          But that's tremendous - that means more search and more jobs for everyone.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:05PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:05PM (#555506)

          As long as they also search the cavity between the ears.

      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:48PM

        by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:48PM (#555559) Journal

        I have the soundtrack to that right here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXPLr7l1ftY [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Friday August 18 2017, @02:23AM

      by SanityCheck (5190) on Friday August 18 2017, @02:23AM (#555678)

      Right and I suppose the fact that you can be barred entry into Canada because of a DUI in U.S. is just dandy? This is a non-story.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by EvilSS on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:10PM (22 children)

    by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:10PM (#555472)
    So what? This is something that all countries do. Every country has what seems like unfair rules. Canada, for example, will bar you for a prior DUI. [seattletimes.com]
    • (Score: 2) by goodie on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:18PM (18 children)

      by goodie (1877) on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:18PM (#555477) Journal

      Yep, for any felony or crime for which you were charged. All countries do that and happily exchange those records. In this situation, we are talking about somebody's emails to her doctor. This is not after looking up some government database. The next step could be to have government agencies have real time access to your online medical record when you cross the border, now that would be neat and not violate people's liberties!

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by EvilSS on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:30PM (14 children)

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:30PM (#555484)
        Yes, but the emails (which she handed over) showed that she committed a crime. If you don't want your phone searched at the border, go buy a burner flip phone for your trip. Or FedEx your phone to your destination. This isn't new, it's been going on for a while now. People should know better.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:39PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:39PM (#555492)

          Or, how about use a fucking lock screen...

          • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday August 18 2017, @12:07AM

            by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @12:07AM (#555639) Homepage

            Or, how about not keeping e-mails to your doctor about using blow in ANY e-mail account, for ANY reason?

            Sure, the mail provider may never forget, but to discuss such things in e-mail rather than in person is pure idiocy. Also,

            " Ecstasy, fentanyl and marijuana are smuggled into the U.S. from Canada. "

            Why, 'O', why?!

          • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Friday August 18 2017, @09:03AM

            by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday August 18 2017, @09:03AM (#555779)

            US requires you to hand over passwords for phones/etc.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:52PM (10 children)

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:52PM (#555498)

          Because the government powns her medical records, email service, phone manufacturer, phone OS devs, and app devs, that "We, uh, looked at your email app" is just polite conversation version of they looked in fifteen databases that they'd prefer not to discuss in public. This is why I'm not very concerned about border cops and my phone. They pown everything about it top to bottom, so getting pissed off only about it being out of my hands for a moment misses kinda the bigger point about your phone being an extension of big brother ALL THE TIME.

          Secondly border cops are above the law, literally, and it might be yet another polite conversation version of "we saw pictures in your gallery of you burning crosses in some black dudes front yard, but to be polite and somewhat less controversial we're gonna say merely that you overdosed some years back". You can die on hill A, or die on hill B, may as well pick the easier one.

          You have to realistic about possible setups. I mean seriously, I F-d my back up once, long story, why would I have an email conversation about it with my doctor, why the hell would I keep that email conversation for over a year... What would an email conversation even be about "Nancy Reagan says just say no to drugs!". I mean seriously? Something is VERY fishy here. Even F-d up american medical billing doesn't usually take a year to process and the bill wouldn't say "heroin analog overdose treatment" anyway, at least not directly, and she's Canadian so supposedly their medical system kicks our medical system's butt. My guess is polite conversation problem #3 is the email conversation is some ongoing thing about how the doc is an american citizen she's going to illegally marry in one of those immigration scams, but just to be polite we'll talk about your overdose. Or she knows she's been banned for attempted smuggling or bending some visa rule right to the point of breaking, so knowing she's gonna get banned anyway for whatever historical reasons, she plants a medical email in there to make ourguys look bad. Sometimes its the little details that are super sketchy that are skipped over real fast so people don't notice, that change the whole tone of the discussion when its pointed out. I donno who planted or planned this, or why, but that is likely to be a hell of a lot more interesting story than "cops harass opiate addict".

          This does have the symptoms of having passed thru the politeness filter. You can have awkward arguments about if she really loves the guy she's going to attempt a suspected marriage of convenience with to obtain citizenship. You can argue endlessly about if her blood opiate levels are so high right now that transporting her blood means smuggling opiates. You can argue forever about maybe she's a steaming jackass and she's pissed off so many agents and supervisors on some BS or another that they're just sick of her, some people are just too antisocial to be part of society. But its pretty concrete and unarguable that they can have a management style bad news discussion about her documented heroin overdose so bye bye. Very much "put Al Capone in jail for IRS reasons" when you know darn well he's a leader of killers but its too much work to do it the right way.

          • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:18PM (2 children)

            by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:18PM (#555543)
            Be sure to take off your tinfoil hat before entering border control.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:08PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:08PM (#555610)

              border control

              control

              trololol

              • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday August 18 2017, @12:08AM

                by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @12:08AM (#555640) Homepage

                As retarded and worthless as this post is, I can always appreciate new ways to express things like convincing echoes using simple text tools. It evokes a feeling of not only reverb, but delay.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Arik on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:35PM (1 child)

            by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:35PM (#555554)
            That was hilarious.

            Sheer unadulterated fiction, spun from nothing, with what passes around here for a 'straight face.'

            --
            "If Evolution Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Evolve."
            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:45PM

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:45PM (#556366)

              What the original agitprop or my sorta-conspiratorial counterspin on it? I think mine, beat theirs, WRT creativity, style, and believability. I simply posted a better story than a "professional" journalist. Of course outwriting a modern journalist is kind of like being the best midget basketball player, but hey I still kicked some butt, even if it was lame butt.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday August 18 2017, @05:09AM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @05:09AM (#555717) Journal
            I'd like to have due process here rather than a fairy tale about how much she had it coming. This story alleges that they accessed medical records (which is what an email to your doctor is) and no reason has been given for this two hour search. Sorry, I'm not willing to take it on high fantasy that the subject of this search did something wrong or deserves somehow to be prevented from entering the US.
            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:59PM (3 children)

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:59PM (#556369)

              a fairy tale about how much she had it coming.

              Given the circumstances behind the agitprop are incredibly suspicious, I'd agree with you that a "she had it coming" is not the only possible strategy. She could, for example, be over the top stupid, told the agent she's trying to smuggle farm produce past the border AND she's a druggie, and the agitprop is only focusing on the drugs because drugs should be legal, and ignoring she's an idiot. But its more fun to contemplate she had it coming for reasons of her own volition rather than being born with a lack of brain power. Or there's other spins too, of course.

              None the less I think my greatest contribution is identifying the agitprop as mere agitprop and WTFing about the strange glossed over details, and my theories about WHY the details are glossed over are weaker and fundamentally not required to make the main point of its not news but merely agitprop with some really weird semi-hidden back story.

              Another weird part of the agitprop is normalizing the idea that our country should be a dumping ground for druggies. Why should we shit were we sleep? Seems a very strange concept to try and normalize. Lets say instead of a druggie chick it was a male child rapist. Keeping a child rapist out of the country would reduce the overall quality of the USA ... how exactly? I mean, what did we REALLY lose here by keeping her out? Or maybe the agitprop message is actions should not have consequences, again, I'm just not feeling it. Maybe the funniest part of the story is they kept her name secret because her drug history would make her unemployable, so its vitally important we import as many unemployable people into the USA as possible because... um... why is that a worthy goal again? I mean if this chick isn't good for anything but at absolute best becoming a lot lizard at a truck stop, why do we need to shame American immigration policy into letting people like her in? Is there a shortage of lot lizards I don't know about? I mean Canadian women are generally hotter than USA women, but still...

              The more you think about it, the weirder the agitprop story sounds.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday August 20 2017, @11:02AM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 20 2017, @11:02AM (#556644) Journal
                While you bring up an excellent point - we are hearing only one side of the story, it remains that this is something border agents can do. Without greater transparency on the decision making of the US border agents, we have nothing to contradict the story.

                Second, we don't need to come up with this weird agitprop story to explain potential dishonesty on the part of the traveler. They'll have natural behavioral tendencies to exaggerate their side of the story. Similarly, this story is coming from a source (Vice.com) that tends to exaggerate such things as well. I suppose that's what agitprop is, but I don't think we need to get all mystical about it.

                It remains that we have not established that this would-be visitor or immigrant would cause problems for the US. That remains a completely unfounded fantasy you've spun.

                Finally, what's with the hate for druggies? There's a huge number of people who take such mind-altering drugs in the US, most who are hard working and productive, contrary to the stereotype. In addition to the relatively light weight drugs like caffeine and nicotine, we have alcohol, a variety of prescription anti-depressants and minor tranquilizers (like Xanax or Valium), and of course, the illegal recreational drugs. I believe you'll find that a very high percentage of the US population is a druggie of some sort, often by necessity to treat a medical condition. And yet we're at a pretty high level of employment these days.
                • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday August 21 2017, @01:50PM (1 child)

                  by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2017, @01:50PM (#557020)

                  It remains that we have not established that this would-be visitor or immigrant would cause problems for the US.

                  Drugs are or are not good can't be resolved in the context of the story, but it does seem that if they're good then she's no problem and if drugs are not good then she's problematic.

                  Finally, what's with the hate for druggies?

                  There's a spectrum and there's not much worse than overdosing heroin addicts. There's worse, but not much. Hopefully the agents are also keeping the "even worse" out of the country.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday August 21 2017, @10:07PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2017, @10:07PM (#557248) Journal
                    I suppose so, but I see two points to keep in mind. First, the US does a bunch of productive people who otherwise would be classified as druggies. So I'm not seeing the justification for keeping this particular person out of the US based on your past narrative. Second, I don't trust the border guard. Life time ban based on illegal drug use sounds pretty shifty to me. Perhaps, we should clean out the department and put in competent people who can find and express real reasons for life time bans and other serious judgments?
      • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:48PM (2 children)

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:48PM (#555558) Journal

        In this situation, we are talking about somebody's emails to her doctor. This is not after looking up some government database. The next step could be to have government agencies have real time access to your online medical record when you cross the border, now that would be neat and not violate people's liberties!

        I'm not defending the actions here, but what you said there is SIGNIFICANTLY different from established policy in the U.S. for borders since the first customs statute of 1789. "Online medical record" implies remote access to a service, retrieving private records that are not physically present at the border. I know there have been reports of officials requesting passwords to Facebook and the like too, which is just as deplorable.

        But there is at least a critical distinction to be drawn here, which is that if I read this story correctly, the email was physically in her "sent mail" folder stored on her phone. It was an actual record she was carrying on her person. Since the dawn of the U.S., if you tried to carry something across the border, it can be searched -- no matter if it's a sealed letter, a sealed Christmas present... or a darn filing cabinet on your shoulder. The fact that most people now carry around tiny devices that are the equivalent of thousands of filing cabinets doesn't change the fact that physical records on your person have always been subject to search.

        I'm not saying such a search was justified here, and maybe we do need to think about modifying policy in light of the electronic era. But if all these guys did was to open an email that was physically present on her phone, it's not that different from what border officials have done for generations. What you suggest about getting access to online records or remote materials -- that's a lot different, almost as if the immigration folks took your filing cabinet keys, drove to your office a hundred miles away, and started searching that before letting you through the border.

        • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:03PM

          by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:03PM (#555567) Journal

          Oh, and what I find most offensive about this whole scenario is that we apparently have border officials who waste 2 hours on a "fishing expedition" on someone's phone for no apparent reason. (Yes, I know this happens all the time. No, it doesn't make me feel any safer. Don't we have something better to pay them to do? Who's monitoring the nudie scanners?)

          Actual suspicion of serious crime? Suspicion of carrying illegal substances? Etc. That's different.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by vux984 on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:36PM

          by vux984 (5045) on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:36PM (#555625)

          Since the dawn of the U.S., if you tried to carry something across the border, it can be searched -- no matter if it's a sealed letter, a sealed Christmas present... or a darn filing cabinet on your shoulder. The fact that most people now carry around tiny devices that are the equivalent of thousands of filing cabinets doesn't change the fact that physical records on your person have always been subject to search.

          You've made this point a couple times. And you are right... but also wrong. In 1850 if you crossed the border with a filing cabinet on your shoulder it was because you actively wanted those files to come across the border with you. You would not be 'incidentally lugging around a filing cabinet'. And it was reasonable to argue that if you didn't want every file in your filing cabinet searched, why were you carrying it; but that argument no longer applies.

          First -- The fact that most people carry around tiny devices that are the equivalent of thousands of filing cabinets SHOULD change everything. Its reasonable to search the documents someone carried over the border in a filing cabinet. Its not reasonable if the filing cabinet is the size of a human hair and everyone carries thousands of them, without thinking about, as a matter of course. If everyone is carrying piles of personal information everywhere due to changes in technology the correct response is changes in the law, NOT for people to have to buy burner phones and do other weird data purging rituals when about to cross a border. The law should support the society we want to live in; never the other way around.

          Second -- the contents of my phone are not a threat to the united states. No email crossing the border whether via the internet or carried over physically on a phone is a significant threat. So border services really have no real business looking at it. The scope of their role is securing the border, it really shouldn't go beyond that. It shouldn't be carte blanche to scrutinize every tourist, every professional, every conference goer, and every RETURNING CITIZEN beyond verifying they are who they say they are, verifying that they aren't bringing in anything dangerous / prohibited / quarantined, and verifying there is no preexisting reason to prevent them entrance (outstanding warrants, expired visa, previous convictions, terrorist watch lists... etc). THAT is their job. Their job isn't to catch previously undetected office supply pilfering by reading your email as the cross the border. If there is no pre-existing reason to stop you at the border, then the search should amount to ensuring you aren't moving contraband. That's it. And if there is a pre-existing reason to stop you at the border, but it falls short of an outstanding warrant for arrest (such as previous conviction, expired visa, whatever...) then they should simply turn you away. Citizens of course should always be allowed back in.

          Finally, you wrote: "which is that if I read this story correctly, the email was physically in her "sent mail" folder stored on her phone. "

          Was it though? Or was it received on the fly from the server at the request of the snooping guards? Is my sent mail from a year+ ago on my phone? Nope. In my case its just sync the last couple months months. But if I search, it'll pull matches on demand from the server. So if I'd written a note to my doctor in 2003 about drugs, and then searched for drugs in 2017, it'll still find it "on my phone". But until i searched for it, and selected the result, it wasn't on my phone. Selecting the result is what PUTS it on my phone. So now... not only everything in the filing cabinet actually carried over the border is being searched, but potentially all the filing cabinets still at the office are being searched too, thanks to this filing cabinets capability of pulling files from remote cabinets on demand.

          Further

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:22PM (#555480)

      Your name, so apropos

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @04:04AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @04:04AM (#555700)

      There's nothing in Canada worth the fuss to spend your vacation time on anyway.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @04:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18 2017, @04:08AM (#555701)

        Nothing there that other destinations don't have better.
        I think the most US tourists they get are from sheer convenience--Americans that live very close to the border.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Nerdfest on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:56PM

    by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @06:56PM (#555500)

    I'll go out on a limb here and guess this was an at least somewhat attractive woman ... the brownshirts were looking for naked selfies and found this. There was no reason to search her phone. What a terrified, authoritarian little world we're becoming.

  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:05PM (14 children)

    by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:05PM (#555508)

    I believe privacy should be respected everywhere, even at the border, that our laws should be changed, etc. etc.

    But I also understand how the government views all this based on multiple reports over the years of the searches people have been subject to at the border and so I don't really feel a ton of sympathy for anyone who is shocked by being super-violated at a border crossing. All she had to do was bring a burner and memorize some important numbers and everything would have been fine.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:31PM (1 child)

      by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:31PM (#555517)

      That is far from the definition of "fine" in my books. That people stand for this is mind-boggling.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday August 18 2017, @01:46AM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @01:46AM (#555668)

        What do you mean? Should she have violently refused when only the BP has guns? Or maybe you mean we should vote, but you know that the average citizen has no impact on legislation without some millions to spend on bribes. Then there's the parties -- they come with Trump and Clinton -- sure we can all vote third party (I have in multiple elections now) but we also know that's a protest vote. Of course she's Canadian so voting is out of the question.

        So the fact is there is this uber-crappy law that as a regular person, and especially as a foreigner, we can do jack-shit about. You take that fact and do what you can to protect yourself, specifically, never carry anything over the border with sensitive information -- not paper notebooks or electronic ones.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:22PM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:22PM (#555548)

      But I also understand how the government views all this based on multiple reports over the years of the searches people have been subject to at the border and so I don't really feel a ton of sympathy for anyone who is shocked by being super-violated at a border crossing. All she had to do was bring a burner and memorize some important numbers and everything would have been fine.

      Right, and if women don't want to be raped, they shouldn't dress so slutty. Maybe wear a burka?

      // Victim blaming is NEVER OK.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:09PM (5 children)

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:09PM (#555589) Journal

        Right, and if women don't want to be raped, they shouldn't dress so slutty. Maybe wear a burka?

        I hate these sort of comparisons. Nobody was "raped" here. A woman was requesting entry to a foreign nation. I know that seems so routine that most of us don't think about it, but border officials for centuries have been combing through stuff people carry on them at borders. And let's also be frank that most countries deny entry for all sorts of random minor reasons (particularly past offenses).

        And said woman was carrying, on her person, records of an illegal act she had committed.

        Do I think the search was unnecessary and gratuitous? From her account of it, it sounds like it was done without any suspicion whatsoever, so yeah, I think it was unnecessary. But did the border officials have absolutely every right to examine records she was carrying on her person? Well, they've been empowered to do such things (as they are at most international borders at most nations) for a very long time. Maybe laws need to change in the era of electronic devices about such things, but this is in no way akin to "rape" and she was not a "victim" because someone searched her phone at a border where she was requesting entry. (Reading further into TFA, it seems some of the interrogation about her personal relationships may have crossed the line... if you want to complain about that, I might at least agree it sounds inappropriate -- though again, we have one side of the story.)

        Hence, making a statement like, "If you want to avoid such a scenario, do X," is just giving realistic advice. If a businessman was carrying a giant filing cabinet on his shoulder across an international border, and they searched it and found records of embezzlement and illicit transactions, would advice like "uh, don't carry a giant filing cabinet of your potentially damning records across an international border" be "blaming the victim"??

        // Victim blaming is NEVER OK.

        For future reference, let's also differentiate between "blaming victims" in a shaming fashion or whatever vs. offering realistic advice. Events can have multiple contributing factors for causality. (I'm always amazed I need to explain this to people.) Just because the border guards may have been unnecessarily thorough doesn't mean that "don't carry tons of your personal records with you that you don't want people combing through as you go across borders" is bad advice or "victim blaming."

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Friday August 18 2017, @05:22AM (4 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @05:22AM (#555726) Journal

          But did the border officials have absolutely every right to examine records she was carrying on her person?

          No. Governments don't have rights, they have powers. Rights are restrictions on the power of governments.

          • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Saturday August 19 2017, @12:33AM (3 children)

            by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @12:33AM (#556210) Journal

            Semantic quibbling. "She had every right to be mad" doesn't mean she had some restriction on the power of government that allowed her to be mad. I didn't say the government had "rights" -- I said border officials "HAD THE RIGHT" to do something. Any dictionary will tell you that the noun right can mean a general authority to do something, particularly in an idiom like that, not merely your circumscribed definition.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:50AM (2 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @02:50AM (#556249) Journal

              Any dictionary will tell you that the noun right can mean a general authority to do something, particularly in an idiom like that, not merely your circumscribed definition.

              Not the Oxford Dictionary [oxforddictionaries.com]:

              A moral or legal entitlement to have or do something.
              [with infinitive] ‘she had every right to be angry’
              ‘you're quite within your rights to ask for your money back’
              [mass noun] ‘there is no right of appeal against the decision’

              Earlier, you wrote:

              If a businessman was carrying a giant filing cabinet on his shoulder across an international border, and they searched it and found records of embezzlement and illicit transactions

              Why should they have the "right" to do that? Those records of embezzlement and whatnot are irrelevant to anything the border guard should be searching for. As it turns out, apparently, they can't just do that. They need [wikipedia.org] legal justification before they can go beyond the routine.

              The Supreme Court has held "that the detention of a traveler at the border, beyond the scope of a routine customs search and inspection, is justified at its inception if customs agents, considering all the facts surrounding the traveler and her trip, reasonably suspect that the traveler is smuggling contraband in her alimentary canal." (emphasis added)[22] Characterized in terms of the Fourth Amendment, the Court was saying that such a detention ("seizure") was "reasonable", and therefore did not violate the Fourth Amendment. (The federal agents in this particular case did not X-ray ("search") her because she claimed she was pregnant. They instead decided to detain her long enough for ordinary bowel movements to evacuate the alimentary canal, despite her "heroic" efforts otherwise.)

              The Supreme Court expressly did not rule what level of suspicion would be necessary for a strip, body-cavity, or involuntary x-ray search,[23] though they did say that the only two standards for Fourth Amendment purposes short of a warrant were "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" (rejecting a "clear indication" standard).

              In the border search context, reasonable suspicion means that the facts known to the customs officer at the time of the search, combined with the officer's reasonable inferences from those facts, provides the officer with a particularized and objective basis for suspecting that the search will reveal contraband.[24] To form a basis for reasonable suspicion, a customs officer may rely on his training and prior experience, and may rely on entirely innocent factors, if the totality of the circumstances provide the officer with reasonable suspicion.

              In particular, the claimed basis of rejection, indirect evidence of illegal activity within a year, is not within the purview of the border officer or customs agent. It'll be interesting to see who actually made that judgment to bar her from entering. It shouldn't have been a flunky in the field.

              • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Saturday August 19 2017, @10:19PM (1 child)

                by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @10:19PM (#556510) Journal

                Any dictionary will tell you that the noun right can mean a general authority to do something, particularly in an idiom like that, not merely your circumscribed definition.

                Not the Oxford Dictionary [oxforddictionaries.com]:

                A moral or legal entitlement to have or do something.
                        [with infinitive] ‘she had every right to be angry’

                I think you need to go back and read what you just quoted. The border officials had a "legal entitlement" (in your definition) under their "general authority" (as I put it) to search in this manner. Whether or not they SHOULD have such authority/entitlement is a separate question. Regardless, your sense of "right" is a subset of that definition you quoted, which was my point.

                As for the rest, you do realize you were quoting a Supreme Court decision dealing with body cavity searches, right? That's a bit different from going through your papers -- which customs officials DO have the right to request to do, as they can with anything you're carrying with you and transporting into the country. What they can't do is do personally "invasive" searches (like body cavity searches, strip searches, etc.) without "reasonable suspicion, nor can they do "destructive" searches (though they can do non-destructive searches, even including disassembling parts of your car, with no suspicion whatsoever). And they can't REPEATEDLY detain you at the border without some justification, though a single extended detention as happened here is pretty common even without suspicion.

                So yeah, they could definitely spend some time leafing through your filing cabinet. As to whether they could take any action based on information of illegal activities they might find there.. well, that depends a lot on the particular situation. As you say, they're mostly tasked with stuff related to what comes into the country, so obviously they can't themselves arrest you for embezzlement or whatever in my scenario. They could in most cases report you to the authorities, and if you weren't a citizen, they could likely definitely deny you entry if such evidence appeared to point to a serious crime.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday August 20 2017, @10:49AM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 20 2017, @10:49AM (#556640) Journal

                  The border officials had a "legal entitlement" (in your definition) under their "general authority" (as I put it) to search in this manner.

                  If you need to use "quotes" when discussing definitions, then you probably are doing semantics quibbling.

                  The thing that gets me here is in a story about a potential violation of a visiting foreigner's rights to due process (and to a lesser extent, privacy), you're choosing to conflate the word "right" in a different and incorrect context? The border guard or whatever has some authority, power, or duty to search people at the border. But it is not an entitlement.

                  It sounds a lot like claiming that allowing people to pass through the US's borders without arbitrarily intrusive searches of their property at the whim of the searchers is somehow a violation of the rights of the border guards? What do you think?

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:59PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:59PM (#555607)

        > // Victim blaming is NEVER OK.

        Never.
        On the other hand "it was so humiliating to have law officers learn about my Fentanyl overdose" is pretty hilarious.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 19 2017, @03:12PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @03:12PM (#556370)

          Despite global warming, hell seems to be freezing over when I agree with Athanasius.

          The funniest thing about a rape comparison is other than kinky role play, most rape victims don't knowingly volunteer and then prep for the activity, yet this chick knowingly shows up at an interview with the cops making sure they'll find out about her fentanyl overdose.

          That is so weird.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:40PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:40PM (#555628) Journal

        Failure to maintain contact with reality has it's consequences, however "right" or "wrong" those consequences are. You call it "victim blaming". I call it self preservation.

        If you wander aimlessly through the forest, and come into contact with a hungry grizzly bear who eats you, did you not "deserve" your fate?

        --
        Hawking believes that alien life forms will likely be simple and primitive, or, as they’re known on Earth, Democrats.
      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday August 18 2017, @01:52AM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @01:52AM (#555669)

        That's some A class trolling. The law is a fact. It is a crappy law and if you as regular citizen can figure out how to end it, I'll be right there beside you working to eliminate it. Your indignation at the law however, like mine, isn't worth a damn.

        Right now, that law is as much a fact as gravity. Gravity doesn't care if you are dressed in grimy baggy denim overalls, or a gold spandex mini-skirt. It grabs you and throws you to the ground. Like a cop. So if you don't want to get hurt when that happens, take precautions and never cross a border with electronics containing anything of value or which you feel ought to be private. Your burner phone is your parachute.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Arik on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:32PM

      by Arik (4543) on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:32PM (#555553)
      "All she had to do was bring a burner and memorize some important numbers and everything would have been fine."

      So what you are saying is that this is all security theatre, sufficient to inconvenience travellers but not to pose any problem to genuine terrorist attackers?

      Yeah, I think you're right.
      --
      "If Evolution Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Evolve."
  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:43PM (5 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:43PM (#555523)

    Also known as hockey hooligans.

    --
    compiling...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:57PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @07:57PM (#555527)

      "These evil-doer Canadians are bad hombres that must be kept out of the USA, believe me! Their weird bacon and their French hockey are a bigly attack on American values and traditions. It's not even bacon, I don't know what the hell it is, Obama's belt? Sadly stuff. We should build a big beautiful wall to separate them from us, and make them pay for it! #MAGA!"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:08PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:08PM (#555534)

        realDonaldTrump, why did you post as AC?

        • (Score: 5, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:48PM (2 children)

          by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:48PM (#555583) Homepage Journal

          When you leave out the "@" I don't see it in my messages. But I saw your tweet. That wasn't me. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven't heard it. I mean, I just, I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. Imitation is a terrific form of flattery, which I love. And this story proves that when Canada sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. It's a huge problem. And when they send us their lumber, they're not sending their best. They send softwood lumber. I like wood that doesn't go soft. So I put a tariff on that. And we're renegotiating NAFTA. As we speak, negotiators are renegotiating it. I am sitting in my office in Bedminster, in the New Jersey White House, with a pen in hand, waiting for our negotiators to give the new treaty to me. Which is going to be a terrific deal for America. And I'm thinking, a wall could be a good idea. I read on SoylentNews that solar panels are coming in new colors. Including red and white. And the old colors include black. So we can have red and white, the colors of the Canadian flag. To warn people that they're approaching Canada. And we can have red and black, the colors of our new flag. To warn Canada's people not to bring their drugs, their crime. In my home town, they say good fences make good neighbors. In NYC they say that all the time. And good walls make even better neighbors. Take Korea, it's amazing. They have a wall that runs the entire length of the border. A concrete wall, parts of which are transparent, between the North and the South. They call it the Concrete Wall. And they were technically at war from 1950 until just last week, but you'd hardly know it. Because of that wall. Amazing! So I think the AC has a fantastic idea, about the wall. To fix the very bad situation we have with Canada. A lot, a lot of which is due to Obama. Believe me, I inherited a mess. 🇺🇸

          --
          Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the 🚂 #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]
          • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:12PM (1 child)

            by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday August 17 2017, @10:12PM (#555590) Journal

            You certainly posted a yuuuge wall of text.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:20PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:20PM (#555615)

              Yeah, I find that to be the most unrealistic part of "our" Trump impersonator. I seriously doubt that the actual Trumpster can focus long enough to write an entire paragraph. Every week or two he puts the entire military on edge because he needs a 10 minute break between two tweets...

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:17PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:17PM (#555541)

    Chelsea, 28, whose last name is being withheld due to fears that it could affect future employment

    OK. We will deny employment to every applicant named Chelsea. You cannot beat us. We are HR. We are in charge. You are expendable.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:42PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @08:42PM (#555556)

      To be fair, anyone called Chelsea is likely to be a few sandwiches short of the full picnic and was probably conceived in Essex by half-siblings unaware of their close genetic relationship after several pints of wife-beater. I'd go out on a limb and further wager that they are from the Dengie and drive a Ford with blacked out windows, lowered suspension and one of those stereos you can hear from Kent.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:47PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @09:47PM (#555581)

        Or it could be Chelsea Clinton...

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:29PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17 2017, @11:29PM (#555620)

          Or Chelsea Manning.

          • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday August 18 2017, @06:50AM

            by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 18 2017, @06:50AM (#555744) Journal

            Shouldn't that be Chelsea Womanning? Seems the conversion was not complete!

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday August 19 2017, @03:20PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 19 2017, @03:20PM (#556373)

          Not really seeing that as an "or" relationship.

          I was listening to a history podcast about Nicolae Ceaușescu and his family and the podcasters were far too polite and politically correct to compare them to the Clinton crime family, but I'm not, so I will, and it is pretty funny how its hard to tell who's copying who. I mean the Clintons are pretty much Ceaușescus and vice versa in several funny ways. Politically similar authoritarian arrogant petty country bumpkins with a overdose of entitlement and degeneracy. Their spawn is going to be messed up.

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