U.S. Customs now reads your blog entries?
November 29, 2005 7:40 PM PST
An Iranian trying to enter the U.S. says border guards barred him
from entering because his blog said he was based in New York.
Hossein Derakhshan, who writes a blog on Hoder.com, said in a post
last week that he's "homeless" because he was prevented from re-
entering the country. Derakhshan says he was born in Tehran and then
moved to Toronto, Canada in December 2000.
The United States, of course, requires a visa for foreign citizens
who want to live here permanently.
So when the border guards found a Newsweek magazine labeled with his
name and a New York City address, coupled with the I-live-in-the-Big-
Apple contents of his blog, they were suspicious and denied him entry
for six months, Derakhshan says.
Reading blog entries while at the border may be new, but border
guards have enjoyed Internet access for a while. (When I was
traveling to Ottawa to speak at an academic conference, the guards
verified my claim by checking the university's Web site.)
In addition, border guards have been known to investigate the
contents of a computer.
One report this year from a U.S.-based marijuana activist says U.S.
border guards looked through her digital camera snapshots and likely
browsed through her laptop's contents.
Kenneth Cukier, now a London-based correspondent for The Economist
magazine, once reported similar first-hand experiences, and a 1998
article in the New York Times describes how British customs scan
laptops for sexual material.
Posted by Declan McCullagh