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Following in the wake of February's news that customs agents were seizing electronics and making copies of all the files on cell phones and laptop hard drives, a federal appeals court has ruled on the legality of such searches. The result: Yeah, customs can do whatever it wants to your computer when you come across the border, without a warrant, and without cause.
The ruling extends to all electronics: In addition to laptops, feds can seize phone records and even digital pictures on your camera as they hunt for evidence. The ruling was unanimous among the three appellate judges.
Be assured that the ruling has little to do with thwarting terrorism. The appeal was actually part of an ongoing trial of a man named Michael Arnold, who returned from the Philippines and had his laptop scoured by the feds. They found purported images of child pornography on the laptop and later arrested him. In his trial, the evidence was suppressed for probable cause issues, as the court said that customs had no reasonable suspicion to search his laptop in the first place. That ruling has now been overturned.
Microsoft has developed a small plug-in device that investigators can use to quickly extract forensic data from computers that may have been used in crimes.
The COFEE, which stands for Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, is a USB "thumb drive" that was quietly distributed to a handful of law-enforcement agencies last June. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith described its use to the 350 law-enforcement experts attending a company conference Monday.
The device contains 150 commands that can dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence, which is becoming more important in real-world crime, as well as cybercrime. It can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer.
It also eliminates the need to seize a computer itself, which typically involves disconnecting from a network, turning off the power and potentially losing data. Instead, the investigator can scan for evidence on site.
More than 2,000 officers in 15 countries, including Poland, the Philippines, Germany, New Zealand and the United States, are using the device, which Microsoft provides free.
"These are things that we invest substantial resources in, but not from the perspective of selling to make money," Smith said in an interview. "We're doing this to help ensure that the Internet stays safe."
People there are utterly idiotic, thank god there are few smart ones there that see what is coming.
Originally posted by anti us gov I dont even look like a terrorist.