Saturday :: Aug 9, 2008

Get Your Filthy Authoritarian Mitts Off My Laptop

by paradox

We can know with utmost certainty that 2008 will be classified by future historians as another year in one of America’s darkest, repressive eras, easily surpassing the McCarthy witch hunts in cruel stupidity and trampled freedoms. When a Department of Homeland Security hack equates seizing your laptop to copy all of its contents with rifling your backpack at a border search we are in one of our worst spots as a country, ever.

How tired I am of being outraged and angry at yet another gross humiliating invasion of privacy at the airport, how truly weary I am of ranting millions have died defending the Bill of Rights that’s being ripped to shreds right in front of us. Today, in fact, I will be in neither state, hoping the reader will forgive some simple declarative sentences before I wander away to wonder if we’ll ever get the country back.

Department of Homeland Security and Mr. Jayson Ahern, you are never, ever getting possession of my laptop without a warrant.

If I were to be traveling for leisure this year with a chance for my laptop to be seized at the border those plans would be cancelled. Then there’d be zero chance.

If my employer requires that I cross the border then the firm will purchase a separate travel laptop for me, absolutely stripped to essentials for that mission, encryption and password protected wherever possible, relevant files copies transferred to my real machine at home, hard drive instantly wiped thereafter.

The Department of Homeland Security is never seizing my laptop. I will not get arrested at the border fighting for my rights as my machine is taken from me, I will not quit my job, so a travel laptop it will be. My boss wouldn’t mind.

The screamingly obvious factors that make a laptop a precious personal possession protected by the 4th Amendment are listed here by Mr. Peter Swire and the fine patriots at Think Progress, but I want Mr. Ahern to get a crystal clear understanding as to why he and his authoritarian DHS campaneros are never, ever going to search my laptop.

I graduated too quickly without a correct setup into a public administration job in the middle of a recession, so to eat I was temping as a receptionist at a boring job when I fell in love with the web, Netscape and html. Many hours of this day will be spent thinking about the css layer, the script layer, the blog layer, the rss layer, the graphics evolution, video insertion through various configurations, testing across six mandated platforms, content management, information architecture, branded domains, and other mundane details for the computer files I toil on every working day.

I’d be very fortunate to be driving a forklift were it not for my laptop. My machine defines my employment, my identity as a family member, an American, and my soul as a writer. I look upon it just as I do my right arm, with precisely the same horror and anger expected if one were to chop it off so they could examine its contents at their cruel leisure.

Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Jayson Ahern, you are never, ever searching my laptop without cause or warrant, not as long as I breathe.

paradox :: 7:35 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!