Legal: refusing to give psw at immigration

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by dogbite, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    I understand that this may vary depending on different countries, laws, etc., let's stay in the Western World (UK, US, western EU) and let's not mind about countries like Iran, North Korea, etc. for the moment.

    What can happen to any traveler who refuses to give his psw out when asked at immigration controls when incoming?

    It's plausible to say "I do not recall it" or should anybody have a stronger story to tell?

    Has this never happened to you?


    thanks
     
  2. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    What is psw?


    ----
    rich
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I guess a password. Password for what?
    Mrk
     
  4. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    They ask, You say.

    "Do you have a legal warrant"

    They say, no. You say.

    "Am I being detained or can I go? Can I have my property back."

    Then you walk away, If you say you forget you password that's suspicious, don't be a derp. If they insist or refuse to give you back your property or try unlocking it without a legal warrant tell them you want to speak to a manager and you wish to press legal action for a breach of your personal liberties. They will shut down and let you go, or if they don't retirement bonus. :thumb:
     
  5. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    @Taliscicero

    In some situations, such as entering the US, there is no legal protection in transit zones. And many transit zones include detention facilities. If authorities are suspicious for other reasons, the password-refusal stratey will at best cost you your device.
     
  6. Dave0291

    Dave0291 Registered Member

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    Refusing to give a password at the border is more likely than not to get you detained and harassed roughly. One agent was recently accused of destroying the property of the driver after holding them and giving them a verbal lashing. It depends on the agents and what all may be going on at the checkpoint at the time. You'll get harassed almost always, but many times they'll let you go on through with a scowl. Remember, these aren't police. They operate with a much broader authority and can get around legal obstacles police can't. Be polite, voice your objection and try to get out of there without too much trouble.
     
  7. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    There is always a legal angle to throw around, even bringing up legalities can sometimes be enough, these agents don't know what they are doing most of the time and would rather not risk getting into trouble. Detain me, you will just be paying for my later flight and or other benefits from delaying me and withholding my property.
     
  8. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    In December, 2013, a federal judge in New York ruled that US authorities can seize travellers' laptops at the border without citing a legal reason, suspecting the traveller of a crime, or explaining themselves in any way. (Note: In the USA the "border" includes a 100 mile width that runs along any official legal physical location of the actual dividing line between the us and other countries.)

    It may be weeks before the laptop it is returned.

    It is doubtful that the FBI will not be able to copy the files off of your hardrive without you giving them your password. So it would seem a prudent thing to do to give give your password so as not to arouse suspicion and raise the chances of having the US authorities seize and keep your PC for weeks.



    Privacy is now so small you can't find it.
     
  9. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

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    Not sure if a "I want to speak to the manager" will make much impression. :)
    F.i. in the UK it's a punishable offense (2-5 years prison) to refuse handing over a password under certain circumstances, like 'national security'. link
    You can then ask for the manager until you hear someone say '....to serve a sentence, for 2 years, in Her Majesty's Prison Service'; better to know your (local) rights and your obligations/limitations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  10. Dave0291

    Dave0291 Registered Member

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    The manager speech won't fly, and they don't work like that anyway. They have the backing of the law now, they don't need your permission and pulling a civil liberties speech on them when you're already not complying is just going to get you into hotter water. They can and will hold you and confiscate your equipment whether you wave the Constitution in their face or not. It's within their power and no amount of bickering with them will change it.
     
  11. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    I can understand how that would work for a US citizen under US law, but for a person who lives outside of the states it can cause diplomatic problems if they detain a foreign national without reason, just because is not a good reason. They would actually need to provide proof. If all else fails you ask for a lawyer and say you don't understand the law/ don't understand what is happening. You have to be provided one as locking someone up for something that don't understand with no evidence can cause again many legal issues. Lawyer comes and they stop caring and let you go.
     
  12. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    There is a realty show on cable that is called Border Security. On one of the episodes the traveler was asked to give over his windows password and he refused. The border agent (US agent, I think) produced a document indicating that they had the legal right to look at what was on his laptop. He gave it up and they found child porn pictures and videos. He and his laptop was turned over to the police. On another episode a guy refused loudly and got very indignant, but after having been shown the document he gave it up and there was nothing there to incriminate him. He was then wound up even more. Hard to be charming when you are in a rage.
     
  13. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Just to clarify a bit: psw stands for password and I meant the password of a fully encrypted system (whatever OS) or mobile.
     
  14. hutchingsp

    hutchingsp Registered Member

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    I guess it depends how much you value your principle over reality - for example US border control (and I'd imagine most others) can make your life really really difficult regardless of whether you're legally in the right.

    In France I believe even having encryption is illegal, though they don't practically enforce it since they'd be having to arrest vast numbers of travellers.
     
  15. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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  16. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    It's very clear that no electronic devices should be carried across international borders. Even if they in fact contain no data, they won't be trustable after "inspection". Instead, one should put data online, securely encrypted. For sensitive data, split encrypted files into several pieces, and put multiple copies of each piece in multiple places. Upon arrival, buy new devices with cash from randomly chosen stores. Use full disk encryption, and set up emergency wipe. Download data via VPN>Tor>VPN, using public WiFi. Wipe devices and trash before departure. That should about do it.
     
  17. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Sure but if you are a frequent traveller (let's assume EU-US back and forth) that is really an hassle...
    I believe the best (I should say the most acceptable compromise) is to have an hidden OS with all the sensitive data there, then giving out the outer volume password would not be an issue.
     
  18. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    I understand some people have confidential data they don't want searched through. But coming across a border into another country avails a person up for searches, for security reasons, if nothing else. I believe the majority of people in my country would be of the opinion that if you are a foreigner and you are coming across into this country you should be searched...and if you don't like that then you should spin around and go back to where you came from.
     
  19. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Does that include passwords to your smartphone, personal emails, personal journals and private conversations between you and your wife?
     
  20. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    IMO if I'm going into another country they should be able to search anything and I feel it should be the same way if someone tries to come into the U.S.
     
  21. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    That's actually about how it is now.

    And that's why it's unwise to carry confidential information through customs.

    I'm thinking here about patents, negotiations and so on.
     
  22. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    In my case, PC is company owned and fully encrypted. Well, for sure I store some sensitive business information, but I would not mind to much to share the encryption password if asked.
    In that case I am going just to report afterwards that my PC was searched and then it's up to the company's legal dept to follow up on this, eventually.
    However, since I store also some personal information on this PC, everything but photos and music is stored under several 7z archives, AES encrypted with a 100 digits random password.
    I guess if the PC is searched and seized those data are going to stay safe and also given the total amount of files in it, it will take time anyway to find those archives. Maybe I will be already out of the country.
     
  23. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    Security at the Border - Privacy be damned. It is incompetence that will kill you. A few days ago, an 18 year old tried to board a plane in Edmonton, Canada (destined to fly across US air space) with a pipe bomb. Border Security discovered the pipe bomb and questioned the traveler. It gets better (or worse if you think security is their priority), the traveler was then offered the pipe bomb back and refused to take it, however he was allowed to board the plane. The pipe bomb remained in the custody of Border officials at the airport and the police were not summoned for 4 days. The traveler was not arrested or even detained. One has to question why Border Officials see PCs, nail clippers and hair spray as dangerous whereas a pipe bomb is not. WTF?

    www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/man...-at-edmonton-airport-allowed-to-fly-1.2496528
     
  24. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    From other articles, I gather that he built this "pipe bomb" using smokeless powder from cartridges that he had stolen from his mother's boyfriend. This implies that the "pipe bomb" was rather small. Also, smokeless powder used in cartridges burns rather slowly, and doesn't detonate. You don't want detonation in a gun ;) And so it's questionable whether his "pipe bomb" would have even exploded. Although much of that is speculation on my part, it's all consistent with the nominal sentence that he received.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmon...-to-use-pipe-bomb-on-plane-rcmp-say-1.2499162
     
  25. mlauzon

    mlauzon Registered Member

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    But currently only pertains to US citizens.
     
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