August 1, 2008 - Phil Hodgen

Next trip, I’m leaving my laptop at home

The United States is starting to look like Eastern Europe in the bad old days.

There is a new directive from the Department of Homeland Security. (Warning, PDF). It says what can and cannot be grabbed when someone is passing through customs at the U. S. border.

Here’s how I interpret the directive:

  1. We can take your computer and hang on to it for as long as we want to. Other stuff too, if we feel like it.
  2. We pay lip service to the attorney-client privilege (see E(3) in the document, but we’re still going to take your computer and other stuff too, if we feel like it.
  3. Go stick your nose in a dead bear’s bum.

Sorry, dear MacBook (yes, the black one; I paid the black tax). You don’t get to travel anymore. Your trip to Switzerland two weeks ago was your last trip. This is not a difficult technical problem to solve for me.

The bigger problem is the phone. Do I leave my iPhone at home, too?? I think I have a solution to this, too. I’ll have to test it. (Yes, DHS droids, you can watch all of the Diggnation episodes on my iPhone if you want to.)

This is unmitigated stupidity. It is nothing but security theater.

This is unmitigated stupidity. It does nothing for security of the United States. It MAY catch a few dim bulbs who don’t have the wit to follow an obvious plan such as the one that occurred to me 4 seconds into reading about the government’s new strategies.

This is unmitigated stupidity. It is hampering international trade. I know that because making international business transactions is my business. This is slowing me down. It is causing my clients from outside the United States to pause momentarily and say “Hey, wait a second, do I really want to invest in the U. S.”

This is unmitigated stupidity. It is attempting to achieve something by measuring the wrong thing.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the profoundly stupid governmental bureaucracy. But I am. Silly me.