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Old 08-06-2008, 04:53 PM   #31
pilotbob
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Were I to engage in unlawful behavior -- whether or not I agreed with the law -- I think I'd be a bit more paranoid and employ some level of personal protection.
Yep. There was also a fairly recent case where a guy who's laptop was being inspected had an encrypted file on his drive. He refused to give them or type in the password. The court uphelp that he could not be compelled to give them the password.

So, encrypt your hard drives if you are going to be doing border crossings folks.

BOb
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:48 PM   #32
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Yep. There was also a fairly recent case where a guy who's laptop was being inspected had an encrypted file on his drive. He refused to give them or type in the password. The court uphelp that he could not be compelled to give them the password.

So, encrypt your hard drives if you are going to be doing border crossings folks.

BOb
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Originally Posted by Elsi View Post
Sounds like Arnold didn't take any precautions as all, then. A dual-boot set-up or some obfuscation (like assigning a bogus file-type to the image files) or encryption would have let him slide through with no problem at all. Guy must have been a bit arrogant to think that he and his laptop were immune from inspection.

Were I to engage in unlawful behavior -- whether or not I agreed with the law -- I think I'd be a bit more paranoid and employ some level of personal protection.
Nope ... and, since the most pornagraphic thing they will ever find on my Kindle, laptop, or any other digital device is someting along the lines of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" ... I'm not going to work myself into a lather because they caught some jerk pedophile.

I mean ... some of the articles I have read really make it sound as if they are just confiscating people's digital devices willy nilly at the border. That's not the case.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:06 PM   #33
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On a side note, TrueCrypt is actually very useful, especially if you have sensitive corporate data on your laptop. I use TrueCrypt almost every day.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:24 PM   #34
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Here is one of my concerns. The first way to check if a music file is an illegal copy on an Ipod is that it has no cover art. If the music is ripped with a simple mp3 ripper it usually is missing the metadata for Itunes or other software to find the cover art. Now I had about 300 cassette tapes I took the time to do a high quality copy to mp3 for safety. It was a good thing since all the tapes got ruined on my last overseas move in the Army. Some are not available anywhere on mp3 as far as I know, but most are available for purchase thru Itunes. I for one do not want to lose those songs because a customs agent believes that a song with no cover art is stolen.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:42 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
Yep. There was also a fairly recent case where a guy who's laptop was being inspected had an encrypted file on his drive. He refused to give them or type in the password. The court uphelp that he could not be compelled to give them the password.

So, encrypt your hard drives if you are going to be doing border crossings folks.

BOb
Encryption may not be the answer.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Policy Regarding Border Search of Information
July 16,2008



(2) Assistance by Other Federal Agencies or Entities.
(a) Translation and Decryption. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is in a foreign language and/or encrypted. To assist CBP in determining the meaning of such information, CBP may seek translation and/or decryption assistance from
other Federal agencies or entities. Officers may seek such assistance absent individualized suspicion. Requests for translation and decryption assistance shall be documented.
(b) Subject Matter Assistance. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is not in a foreign language or encrypted, but that nevertheless requires referral to subject matter experts to determine whether the information is relevant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP. With supervisory approval, officers may create and transmit a copy of information to an agency or entity for the purpose of obtaining subject matter assistance when they have reasonable suspicion
of activities in violation of the laws enforced by CBP. Requests for subject matter assistance shall be documented.
(c) Original documents and devices should only be transmitted when necessary to render the requested assistance.
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:07 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina View Post
(a) Translation and Decryption. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is in a foreign language and/or encrypted. To assist CBP in determining the meaning of such information, CBP may seek translation and/or decryption assistance from
other Federal agencies or entities. Officers may seek such assistance absent individualized suspicion. Requests for translation and decryption assistance shall be documented.
(b) Subject Matter Assistance. Officers may encounter information in documents or electronic devices that is not in a foreign language or encrypted, but that nevertheless requires referral to subject matter experts to determine whether the information is relevant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP. With supervisory approval, officers may create and transmit a copy of information to an agency or entity for the purpose of obtaining subject matter assistance when they have reasonable suspicion
of activities in violation of the laws enforced by CBP. Requests for subject matter assistance shall be documented.
(c) Original documents and devices should only be transmitted when necessary to render the requested assistance.
Just because they can request permission to decrypt your data, doesn't mean they will be able to. The nice thing about the internet and open source is that strong encryption is available to everyone. AES-256 bit encryption is extremely strong (as long as you use a strong password), so strong in fact the NSA uses it for Top Secret classified files. This is not something that can be cracked by some script kiddie with an Apple ][.

They are not going to crack AES-256 any time soon... perhaps in 20 years when we have quantum computing... but not soon.

BOb
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:12 AM   #37
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Just because they can request permission to decrypt your data, doesn't mean they will be able to. The nice thing about the internet and open source is that strong encryption is available to everyone. AES-256 bit encryption is extremely strong (as long as you use a strong password), so strong in fact the NSA uses it for Top Secret classified files. This is not something that can be cracked by some script kiddie with an Apple ][
They may not be able to break your encryption. But if they can't, and if you refuse to provide the key, you may find some difficulty in proceeding to your destination...
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:16 AM   #38
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I am pretty sure that our government does not use "some script kiddie with an Apple ][" to decrypt files.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:28 AM   #39
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I am pretty sure that our government does not use "some script kiddie with an Apple ][" to decrypt files.
True... and I am sure there are currently free encryption tools available which (when properly used) cannot be broken by any government out there any time soon

In addition, programs like truecrypt offer you two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:

1) Hidden volume (steganography) and hidden operating system.
2) No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (volumes cannot be distinguished from random data).

In other words, it will be very difficult to prove you have encrypted data on there at all (again, if properly deployed. I can't stress this enough). This is well beyond the level of sophistication of border guards and deep into NSA territory.

On a related note, I still don't understand that people don't encrypt all their data and email traffic out of habit and general principles - because we can discuss interesting crypto but the fact remains the US government has no right to inspect my private data and communications, nor does anyone else.

I also don't understand that US citizens accept this kind of big brother behavior by their government. Land of the free, indeed.

Last edited by acidzebra; 08-07-2008 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:41 PM   #40
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On a related note, I still don't understand that people don't encrypt all their data and email traffic out of habit and general principles - because we can discuss interesting crypto but the fact remains the US government has no right to inspect my private data and communications, nor does anyone else.
Because most people I send email to don't have a public key. Most people that send email to me don't know how to use my public key.

Also, many web sites do not support https. mobileread.com case in point.

BOb
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:03 PM   #41
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They may not be able to break your encryption. But if they can't, and if you refuse to provide the key, you may find some difficulty in proceeding to your destination...
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Or ever getting your computer back, I bet...
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:22 PM   #42
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On a related note, I still don't understand that people don't encrypt all their data and email traffic out of habit and general principles - because we can discuss interesting crypto but the fact remains the US government has no right to inspect my private data and communications, nor does anyone else.
Why should I routinely encrypt my data and email? The vast majority of it is in no way sensitive or confidential, and a don't care if anyone else sees it.

Encrypting my email would require everyone I exchange mail with to have the ability to decrypt it. Most don't - they lack both the software and the knowledge required, and have no interest in acquiring either.

For that matter, my primary email account is web based through GMail. Theoretically speaking, Google can read my mail (and in fact, their algorithms that determine relevant text ads to display do scan it.) So what? As a general rule, I've never considered email to be secure technology, and I don't say things in email I'd be all that upset about if they became public. Unless you're me, my email will either be incomprehensible or stupefyingly boring.

Quote:
I also don't understand that US citizens accept this kind of big brother behavior by their government. Land of the free, indeed.
"Freedom" has many meanings. For the folks who support that sort of thing, the most important freedom is freedom from fear, and they think that sort of action on the part of the government will help provide it.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:49 PM   #43
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I'm very sorry for using a TLA (Three Letter Acronym). That was very bad form.

So, no one is worried?
You shouldn't let it happen again, IMO.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:52 PM   #44
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Well mainly I was trying to be slighty funny but at the same time trying to say don't worry. Now if your ereader contained a bunch of "questionable material" and you'll be jumpy and nervous at customs then maybe you should worry? Average Joe with the latest quick beach read or Tom Clancy, no worries. Unless you think they'll hassle you for your taste?
I guess I shouldn't dl the Simple Sabotage Manual, then, eh?
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:27 PM   #45
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Here is one of my concerns. The first way to check if a music file is an illegal copy on an Ipod is that it has no cover art. If the music is ripped with a simple mp3 ripper it usually is missing the metadata for Itunes or other software to find the cover art. Now I had about 300 cassette tapes I took the time to do a high quality copy to mp3 for safety. It was a good thing since all the tapes got ruined on my last overseas move in the Army. Some are not available anywhere on mp3 as far as I know, but most are available for purchase thru Itunes. I for one do not want to lose those songs because a customs agent believes that a song with no cover art is stolen.
Well, all you have to do is have iTunes look up the cover art for you. It will download cover art for any mp3s that you have. I have burned hundreds of my cds to mp3, and all I had to do to get cover art was to ask iTunes to look the art up for me and apply it to the album.

So ..... since it's easy to rectify, I don't see why the presence or absence of cover art would make any difference whatsoever.
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