Matt Laur , Jun 27, 2008; 01:10 p.m.
Definitely one of several good arguments for burning your overseas image files to DVD and posting copies of them
back to yourself in advance of passing again through airports, baggage handling, customs, etc.
It will be interesting to hear what comes up in the hearings mentioned in the article. Congress has the ball, in terms of further clarifying what the long-standing authority to inspect baggage really means, when it translates to the hundreds of GB of data that people now routinely carry with them. The papers in your briefcase, the currency in your wallet, etc., have been subject to the same sort of inspection for many years. The advent of very small, huge capacity storage devices has completely altered the landscape. It's sort of like inspecting baggage and finding rolls of microfilm containing thousands of images that no customs agent could possibly, personally see or understand without specialized equipment and the time to actually do the work. So the question is - are any forms of data (microflim, paper, binary data) - as legitimately subject to inspection as the courts have repeatedly said they are? The only way to change that is legislatively. That would be up the legislative agendas set by the leaders of each house of congress. Give 'em a call, if you've got the perfect border control vs. privacy recipe in mind - I'm sure they'd love to hear it.