More than 225 years ago, the First U.S. Congress carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirement, allowing for warrantless searches at the border. Until recently, this was limited to the people and their physical items, but federal agents can now search your phones and computers to look at photos, read emails, watch videos — all without having to demonstrate probable cause. A new piece of bipartisan legislation hopes to close that loophole, at least for U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens. [More]
department of homeland security
Following weeks of complaints from airlines, airport personnel, lawmakers, industry groups, and, of course, passengers about seemingly unending security lines at airports around the country, the Department of Homeland Security says it will take immediate steps to address the concerns, including hiring more screeners and approving the use of increased overtime. [More]
To root out the education brokers who guide international students to fake colleges that are only visa mills, the Department of Homeland Security set up its own fake university. Yet should the institution’s students, most of whom came from China and India, have known that the school wasn’t legit when it had full government approval and accreditation? [More]
Hundreds of thousands of residents in five states and one U.S. territory will receive a two-year reprieve from having to use an additional form of identification when going through airport security, as the Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline for state drivers licenses to meet REAL ID standards. [More]
Ten years ago, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and photo IDs. While the rules haven’t exactly been enforced to the “T” by the Dept. of Homeland Security, that’s poised to change, leaving millions of people in nine states in need of a second form of ID to pass through airport security. [More]
After yesterday’s report that undercover government agents were able to sneak mock explosives and weapons past Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports in 95% of tests, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is making some changes: He’s reassigned the acting administrator for the TSA and says he’s directed the agency to revise screening procedures “to address specific vulnerabilities identified” in the undercover operation.
Show me someone who predicted federal agents would be engaged in a literal panty raid and I will show you a liar, because the idea is preposterous — at first. But in a scenario that’s actually par for the course for agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which falls under the Department of Homeland Security’s auspices) put the kibosh on a lingerie boutique for selling unauthorized Kansas City Royals underwear.
No one likes being made fun of or humiliated (okay, some people do, but that’s part of a much larger discussion), but you can’t throw your authority as a big, scary federal agency around to stop people from mocking you, even if they’re making some money doing so. [More]
Travelers should be used to not hauling ginormous quantities of liquids/gels/aerosols in their carry-ons on airplanes by now, but you might find your tube of toothpaste under extra scrutiny if you’re heading to Russia for the Olympics. Federal officials have issued a warning to U.S. and some foreign airlines to be on the lookout for toothpaste, whose containers could hold ingredients used to make a bomb on a plane. [More]
Last week Meg McLain’s story lit up the internet. She says she was cuffed, her ticket was ripped up, and she was kicked out of the airport after she refused the body scanner and tried to ask questions about the pat-down. The TSA took it seriously enough to quickly post security footage of the incident on their blog. I reached Meg by phone to find out more about what happened, and, especially, why she refused the body scanner in the first place. Here is the interview, which has been condensed and edited.
The Orwellian Department of Homeland Security claims that it can indefinitely confiscate laptops and iPods from law abiding citizens without any provocation or justification. The Department “clarified” their policies after several business travelers started asking the press why Homeland Security was fiddling with their laptops and PDAs for months on end.
Make of this what you will, as the story comes from the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s church-owned Washington Times and may be more fiction than fact, but “a senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser.” Yes, the EMD Safety Bracelet from Lamperd Less Lethal is designed to make flying a fun experience once again. Just check out everything it can do:
- Take the place of an airline boarding pass.
- Contain personal information about the traveler.
- Be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage.
- Shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes.
Wouldn’t it be nice to definitively know which cellphone network had the fewest outages?