Friday, 25 September 2009

Check your files at the border

In case you didn't think border security is silly enough, the DHS is now searching digital media. DHS claims they're keeping out terrorism information, and protecting us from information smugglers. They point to capturing a pedophile as proof positive their system works.

I'm calling moose nuggets on that.

All it's proven is they can catch really, really dumb criminals. Actually, all this could possibly protect us against is really dumb criminals. Anyone who has half a brain, and is trying to smuggle information could do any of the following
  1. Put the information on a microSD card and hide it.
  2. Embed the information using stenography.
  3. Hide the information on a unmounted partition.
  4. Email the information encrypted with a one time pad.
  5. Deliberately corrupt the files in an easily repairable way.
  6. Just make your terrorist information really, really confusing to read.
The list goes on. There's a lot of low hanging fruit out there, and I sincerely doubt that DHS has IT experts positioned along the Mexican border. At best they're just randomly flipping for your data looking for something blatantly egregious. I guess best part of security theatre is that there's always another act...

Another reason to stay in AK!

Edit to add: Someone pointed out to me that this only works one way. They're just preventing you from bringing information into the country, and not out of the country, with the regulations. I.e., this will only prevent people from smugging nuclear secrets into the US, as if there's a lack of bomb making information here on home soil. If you have terrorist information, like blueprints to the White House, and Joe Biden's favourite bathtime songs, you could dance your way over the border and DHS wouldn't screen you. After all, you're leaving, not entering.

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