Should Companies Ground their Employees? Laptops Entering the Country are Subject to Search with out Cause

Wired has a good read on the results of a Court Decision that declares that Laptops entering the country are subject to search with out cause.

But what Wired doesn’t talk about is the implications to Corporate America.  If you have an employee leave the US carrying company secrets, even e-mails that might put your corporation in a less than great light would you want them crossing a check point?

The implications could be huge.  While a judge may not be willing to order a request for every e-mail ever sent by Bill Gates in a Monopoly trial, if his computer passed through a security check point it would be with in the realm of possibility that a copy of his hard disk could be made and sorted through later.

And you get in to some other odd scenarios, like the racist joke you made about the guy you interviewed last month, or the girl from accounting that your friend photo shopped on to the Playboy image.  Things that would not warrant a search, but if found could cause your company or even individual serious problems.

Any time “deep” searches are done with out cause I think there is a problem.  You can’t disassemble my car at the border with out some cause.  The drug dog smells the dead mouse in the wheel well, something.  If you are checking that the computer is a computer not a bomb, or stuffed full of drugs, that is one thing, but to be able to “rummage” through my files with out cause will lead to other badness.

Now to drop in Microsoft Live Mesh… It is the only thing in the news today so I’m on it….

Ray Ozzie goes through the security check point the Security guard fires up his computer, it syncs to the Mesh and content that he didn’t even have on his computer syncs and the picture of the topless girl on the beach in France, that his wife took with her Windows Mobile, who turned out to be 16 years old syncs to his computer and he is held for child pornography.

That may seem far fetched but that is where this story all started from, a man coming back from the Philipines who had naked pictures of young boys.  I don’t pretend to know if the man is a good guy, or just happened to take pictures of naked kids National Geographic style.

If it were me. I’d Fed-Ex overnight my electronics if I was crossing the border until this ruling is over turned.