14 May, 2012
If anyone still harbors any doubt about America not being a free country, read the following.
An animal liberation activist returning to the US from time off in Mexico had his mobile phone seized by immigration agents after refusing to divulge the lock code to permit access to the phone’s data. The ICE agent told the activist his phone’s data would be copied for his “protection”. When he refused, the agent took the phone and allegedly sent it to HQ in Washington, DC to be cracked and copied.
This is the first known effort by law enforcement to steal data, without even an attempt to attain a search warrant, from US citizens based only on the basis of their speech. It is entirely likely that portable computers (which this particular activist was not carrying) will be treated in the same way. Warning: Any US citizen traveling abroad can expect to have their computer or cellphone copied or seized on return to the US! This message is not meant to frighten anyone, just to make them aware of the new circumstances so they can take appropriate action. It IS an indication, however, of the effectiveness of our resistance to business-as-usual in the mistreatment, oppression, torture and murder of innocent sentient beings, and our increasing resistance to the destruction of our ecosystem by an unsustainable and collapsing system of capitalism and the law enforcement cronies who prop it up and protect it.
To those reading this that may be traveling outside the US (the invasive nature of this type of search is more than likely coming to domestic travel as well), there are several options:
Option 1. Travel without a mobile phone or computer, or make sure they contain absolutely nothing useful to the fascists, such as names of friends, places you may have visited, your credit card numbers or passwords, private text messages and email, etc. It doesn’t have to involve anything illegal, but virtually ALL information can and will be used to repress those who are viewed as a threat to the current state and its thuggery.
Option 2. After making an online copy, wipe the phone or computer before returning, and then allow them to copy whats left so they don’t steal your device. Be warned that this may not always mean just deleting files, which remain hidden on the device and can be retrieved, but wiping of data using special programs (some of which are free downloads).
Option 3. Ship your device home before traveling; there is no guarantee, however, that the mail will not be intercepted and copied or confiscated. In the past, UPS has been quite reliable.
Remember that the more effective we become in resisting the current culture, currently in the process of exploiting animals and destroying the planet, the more repression we can expect by those in power. Our mission is to stay strong, stay active, and get smarter and more effective, so that one day we will prevail against those who would destroy everything beautiful and wonderful about the planet we live on.
Oppressors have been overthrown with far fewer than one in ten thousand actively involved citizens, so though our numbers may start small, they can be meaningful, and even small and isolated acts of resistance have historically inspired effective revolutions. Capitalism and its exploitation and destruction of the planet are not invincible, and in fact have major vulnerabilities; what will future human survivors (if there are any) say about what you or I did to fight those who would destroy our own habitat and all species that we share it with? Looking to get started? Begin with reading this: http://www.sevenstories.com/book/?GCOI=58322100590170
North American Animal Liberation Press Office