Tell Congress to rein in DHS travel abuses


The ACLU has set up a form that makes it easy to tell Congress to overhaul the broken terrorist watch list and to require reasonable suspicion for electronic searches at the border.

With no suspicion and no explanation, the U.S. government can seize your laptop, cell phone, or PDA as you enter the United States and download all your private information -- including your personal and business documents, emails, phone calls, and web history. The Department of Homeland Security confirms that this is the official policy.

What happens if you refuse to let the agents download your personal photos? Or if you have encrypted your private information? Then Border Patrol -- which is now an agency of the Department of Homeland Security -- can simply copy your entire hard drive or even take your device and hang on to it indefinitely.

Unfortunately, seizing laptops and cameras at the border isn’t the only travel security measure that infringes on our civil liberties.

Just last month, the U.S. government's "terrorist watch list" surpassed one million names and is growing by over twenty-thousand names per month. The watch list includes the names of prominent people, like Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), plus hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans -- many of them with common names like Robert Johnson and James Robinson. Your name might be on the list, but there's no way to know for sure until you are delayed -- or even detained for hours in a back room. If you discover your name is on the list, it's nearly impossible to get off. It actually took an Act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela off the list. No joke. An Act of Congress.

These abuses have something in common: They make all of us into suspects, with no rule of law and no accountability.

Tell Congress to rein in DHS travel abuses (ACLU)