Tim Hardy: "UK border police have the power to seize all your personal data without reasonable suspicion and keep it effectively forever even if you are not charged with or suspected of a crime."
How would you feel if the police stopped you on a whim, took your phone, your laptop, your digital camera, your MP3 player, your USB sticks and your memory cards then copied everything on them?
How would you feel if they told you they were going to keep all your photographs, your documents, your address book, your financial data, your browsing history, your emails, your chat logs, your electronic diary, your music and recordings and anything else they liked for at least six years - indeed maybe they’d keep them until you reached the age of a hundred in case they might prove useful one day?
How would you feel if they then demanded all of your passwords and threatened you with years in jail if you refused to hand them over?
Welcome to Britain.
These are the rights granted to the police at the border controls of this country.
Within the UK, police officers are authorized to seize phones and download information only after making an arrest. The border control officers have no such limitations.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.