Sunday, March 22, 2009

ACTA negotiations and homeland security

A fierce critic of the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Michael Geist, is blogging about the negotiations.  I nearly spit out my coffee when I read this passage:

The Border Measures proposals are also still subject to considerable disagreement. Some countries are seeking de minimum rules, the removal of certain clauses, and a specific provision to put to rest fears of iPod searching customs officials by excluding personal baggage that contains goods of a non-commercial nature.

(My emphasis.)  If this is so, USTR did a remarkably poor job of coordinating with DHS on the negotiation of the border measures sections of ACTA.  As far as I know, USTR never suggested that it was putting into play DHS's authority to conduct searches of electronic equipment. 

DHS doesn't bust people for carrying downloaded music or movies on a searched laptop.  It has more important things to worry about.  But  electronic searches have turned up plenty of child porn and jihadi snuff films, and DHS has kept dangerous people out of the country (or sent them to jail) as a result.  The ability to do those searches is a key to securing our borders.  We shouldn't be considering the surrender of effective counterterrorism measures in trade negotiations, for crying out loud (if that's really what's happening; Michael Geist is pretty far removed from what's actually being negotiated).


dumbwhore said...

There are better ways to locate criminals than to sacrifice every one's right to privacy without at least reasonable suspicion being required.

The fact that some criminals have been located using a tactic does not make that tactic a constitutionally correct one. Many criminals have been located over the years through other unconstitutional means and eventually those criminals are freed. Play by the constitutional rules and you not only get to nab the bad guys but you also get to enjoy the fact that they stay in prison for their full terms and you can honestly tell your children that you value American and it's values. If we impoverish the constitution, we weaken this great nation.

dumbwhore said...

sorry, I forgot to click the "email follow-up comments" so I'm double replying. sorry about that.