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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In the wake of Edhi detention last week...

Last week Abdul Sattar Edhi, the man who will never receive a Noble Prize, was detained for 8 hours by a lower level immigration officer with powers much beyond his comprehension. (well, to be fair, most immigrations officials all over the world have been invested with such discriminatory powers.) This time a class action suit has been filed on behlaf of Amir Khan and others.

Suit: Airport searches of laptops, other devices intrusive By Jeanne Meserve

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amir Khan says he becomes frustrated and humiliated every time he enters the United States and federal agents search his computers. Khan, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, says it has happened five times since 2003.

A suit filed last week seeks clarification on the rules that allow federal agents to search laptops and other devices.

He says agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have even forced him to give them access to password-protected, confidential information from his company and his banking records.

An IT consultant who travels to Europe, Turkey and Pakistan, Khan says he has cooperated with the questions and searches but feels by now border agents should know he doesn't pose a threat.

Situations for travelers such as Khan are at issue in a lawsuit filed last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The suit accuses customs agents of "lengthy questioning and intrusive searches" and seeks clarification on the law that allows such searches.

The San Francisco, California-based foundation, which works to defend people's rights in the digital world, says it knows of more than a dozen cases in which electronic devices such as cell phones, BlackBerries, MP3 players and laptops have been searched by customs agents. In some cases, they have been confiscated and never returned. Video Watch cyber searches at airports ยป

"Plaintiffs seek agency records in order to determine what policies and procedures exist governing CBP's questioning and searches of individuals at the nation's ports of entry," the suit says.

The Customs and Border Protection defends the searches, saying the agency does not need to show probable cause to look inside suitcases or laptops.

"We have broad search authority at the borders to determine admissibility and look for anything that may be in violation of criminal law," says agency spokeswoman Lynn Hollinger.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi people

I have started a Citizen Journalism website where ordinary people from Pakistan report the news. Its called Taza Kino -

Do take some time and vist us.



February 12, 2008 12:47 PM  

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