Skip Nav
Geek Culture
Harry Potter Tattoos That Would Make J.K. Rowling Proud
JK Rowling
1 Connection Between Dumbledore's Army and the Marauders You Probably Missed
You're Going to Tear Your Hair Out Trying to Find a Cell Phone in This Optical Illusion

Is Airport Security Getting the "Go Ahead" to Search Devices For Illegal Content?

Is Airport Security Getting the "Go Ahead" to Search Devices For Illegal Content?

What is seriously up with airport security anyways?! First they get permission to seize and search your laptop or any other electronic device when crossing the border; then they make the only "TSA approved" laptop bag the ugliest laptop tote on planet earth; and now they're going to be able to search your gadgets (iPod, cell phone, laptop) for illegally downloaded media content?!

According to the Telegraph, leaders of the G8 are meeting this week to decide whether or not to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which is aimed at preventing piracy. And if it gets the go ahead, customs agents would be able to search media players for illegally obtained content — ouch! This reminds me of Napster days where people would be downloading songs and all of a sudden a lawsuit would arrive on their doorstep, and sometimes handcuffs — double ouch! What do you guys think about all of this? I'm starting to think airports are becoming the "privacy free zones" — as soon as you step into them, anything is fair game!


Join The Conversation
Purly Purly 8 years
Have you been through security lately? They're so disorganized that you already have to be at the airport three hours early for international flights. I don't see how they could possibly have time to go through someone's 16GB worth of media on an iphone looking for illegal content. How will they determine what is illegal? Sure lawmakers can ratify till the cows come home, but there has to be a practical method of enforcement or it's completely wasted effort. See also: wasting our tax dollars on useless laws when there are pressing economic concerns at hand.
Faiqa Faiqa 8 years
It makes more sense if custom agents will be doing this. If you think about it, they already do this with all sorts of other items that are considered illegal to bring into the U.S. from other countries: uncooked meat, nuts, seeds, live animals. So, pirated materials aren't legal in the U.S., so *in principle* this makes some sense. HOWEVER, I am very curious as to how they will find enough tech savvy individuals to perform these searches. Anyone who has traveled internationally and returned to the U.S. knows (depending on where you are arriving, I suppose) that the process is archaic and completely inefficient. The last thing we need while standing in customs is to wait while the agent pulls out her copy of "Anti-piracy Detection for Dummies."
looseseal looseseal 8 years
This is what happens when a bunch of old fogies who only have a vague idea of how technology works, and how people use computers and the internet, get together to decide what everyone else are allowed to do with technology. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that at least some of these "leaders" don't know how to read their email unless someone prints it out for them like a good old-fashioned letter. I, too, copied all the music off of my LEGALLY PURCHASED CDs onto my MP3 player, because come on, who carries a CD player around anymore? And I purchased most of these ages and ages ago, so I don't have their receipts anymore. The only way to get people to legally buy music and etc is to make it more convenient and high-quality than other sources, not make it a pain in the ass for anyone to ever use any form of digital media, even when it's legal. God, when I buy a DVD and there's an anti-piracy ad you can't skip through, and when I buy a download and there's DRM on it preventing me from even copying it for my own use... it pisses me the hell off and makes me want to never buy anything legally again. All these stupid-ass laws and measures really punishes the legal users more than the so-called "pirates".
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
WTF! :mob: WTH does illegally downloaded media have to do with airport security. A ripped video or song isn't going to crash a plane. Why don't they take the effort put into searching a media device and use it to actually do their jobs and give a s***. Seriously the world is truly becoming Orwell's "1984". Scary s***. :o
caroline_1 caroline_1 8 years
how will they even be able to tell?? ive probably bought hmmm 10 songs and 20 tv show eps from iTunes... on my iPod of 2,000 lol.... and im sorry but TSA is lax enough as it is i cant see ANY of the screeners really taking the time out of their 'busy' schedule to do this BS
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
well, we haven't had privacy in such a long time i think we've forgotten what it feels like. but this is bs. and you know what, airport security is already understaffed. this would make me never want to fly (certainly out of the country) or leave all my fun devices at home. wtf?
Cris1192 Cris1192 8 years
What do they care if we dowload illegal stuff? It's AIRPORT SECURITY! Not whoever is incharge of royalties and that stuff. And if they think we're smuggling "ilegal material", well we really don't need to smuggle anything, thanks to the internet youu can download illegal stuff anywhere. This is ridiculous! ANd I agree with EvilDorkGirl.
EvilDorkGirl EvilDorkGirl 8 years
LittleRed said: "it's the people with highly encrypted data, hidden partitions, and bad attitudes that they hold up." OK, I fall into all 3 of those categories, none of which make me a criminal, nor are they even indicative of criminal activity. It does make me somebody who is terrified of identity theft, and somebody who takes drastic measures to protect my personal information. Plus the naughty pics I have on there are for my husband's eyes only. I HATE BEING TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL JUST FOR CHOOSING TO FLY! Don't we have rapists and murderers to catch?
angelinemarie angelinemarie 8 years
this is so brutal!
Sasseefrass Sasseefrass 8 years
Add me to the dissenters - I'd love to know how they're going to tell what's be downloaded illegally and what hasn't.
alf9280 alf9280 8 years
I can't believe that they could even think to start doing this! And how are they able to even discern between content that's pirated and content that isn't? Do we have to carry around receipts for EVERY single song, movie, music video, etc? TSA is meant to protect us from the possibility of violence and explosions, not to help out the RIAA.
LittleRedRyan LittleRedRyan 8 years
@aberdi01: It's not the TSA it's customs agents. The answer to your question is they keep you and your laptop from entering the country until they get someone technical to look into it. This isn't for domestic flights only international, I'm guessing if they check and find nothing quickly they let you go, it's the people with highly encrypted data, hidden partitions, and bad attitudes that they hold up.
aberdi01 aberdi01 8 years
I sometimes carry around pretty technical stuff. How are TSA employees going to be experts at using the various technologies going past them?!?
LittleRedRyan LittleRedRyan 8 years
I loved it when this topic came up over at CG and everyone freaked out. Most people get this easily confused, it's not the TSA that will be doing this it's customs agents, I'm pretty sure they have always had this ability to check anything, and everything you are bringing into the country.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Unless your illegal downloads are going to blow up my plane I really don't care what's on your iPod. I don't think the TSA is the workforce that should be dealing with this.
tyffi tyffi 8 years
Why not simply building a huge wall around the country and letting nobody in, or out. It worked fine for the GDR - okay, people weren't too happy, they didn't have anything but paperboard cars, but at least they needn't worry about terrorists.
mintz mintz 8 years
god, this is so annoying. huge hassle and not worth going through. puts a damper on traveling plans =T they're so stupid.
Subie Subie 8 years
The real problem with this is the lack of probable cause. Subjecting people to random searches to see IF they've done something illegal is very different from subjecting them to searches designed (we're told)to ensure nothing too dangerous is brought on a plane. Furthermore, since it's very clearly an international *trade* agreement, and not connected to security issues, I have a very difficult time believing it would pass Constitutional muster. Of course, we live in a land where the most progressive candidate for the presidency voted to renew FISA, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.
telewyo telewyo 8 years
Like the lines at the airport aren't already long enough!
Lil-Sunshine Lil-Sunshine 8 years
All my music is in MP3 format because I burned it off of my CDs. So what are they gonna search my house to make sure everything matches up. Oh! Better not give them any ideas...
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
Seriously, how would they ever know? And that sucks. Forsaking some privacy for safety's sake is one thing, but this is quite another.
tlight tlight 8 years
What does media content have to do with the Airport anyway?
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I'm wondering the same thing, imLissy. How can they really tell? I'd say 40% of the music on my iPod is LimeWire'd. :P
imLissy imLissy 8 years
Come on guys, you know only terrorists download music illegally *rolls eyes* Doesn't this just seem silly? I understand the things they have to do to keep people safe yada yada, but this? How can they even tell? It's not like a quick thing where they look at your play list or something. Don't they have better things to do?
maryanny maryanny 8 years
this better not go through! I can't believe it!
Calvin Harris "Feels" Music Video
Packing Tips From a Travel Company
How to Save Money on Southwest Airlines
Baby Driver Movie Soundtrack
From Our Partners
Latest Technology & Gadgets
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds