Leave a comment

Judge's laptop ruling challenges the Constitution - and your privacy

Judge's laptop ruling challenges the Constitution - and your privacy

It's pretty obvious that we as a society are now made up of two groups. There are those who, for better or worse, have moved their lives into the digital realm, and those who haven't.

I would like to introduce you to someone in the latter category. His name is Edward Korman and he is a federal judge in New York state. He had a case before him involving a U.S. citizen – a Ph.D. student at McGill University in Montreal – who had his computer confiscated while returning to the States. The judge ruled, sweepingly, that, yes, the federal government had a right to confiscate laptops at the border without probable cause.

In other words: You are traveling overseas, with your laptop, tablet or smartphone. As you re-enter the United States, a federal official, for any reason or none, can take it away from you and look through it, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Here's what I have on my laptop. Years of email. Private conversations from close friends about personal matters, some of them tragic, heart-wrenching, and life-changing, and similar messages from my husband. There are thousands of family photos, 99.9 percent of which I would prefer to be private. There is medical information about me and my family. I have business plans that are the culmination of years of work and affect my family's current and future livelihood.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5 things to watch out for when buying electronics
Previous Columns

5 things to watch out for when buying electronics

Stop those ad trackers on your smartphones!
Next Columns

Stop those ad trackers on your smartphones!

View Comments ()