Can Customs and Border Officials Search Your Phone? These Are Your Rights

by Patrick G. Lee – Recent detentions and seizures of phones and other material from travelers to the United States have sparked alarm. We detail what powers Customs and Border Protection officials have over you and your devices. This story has been updated to add that Customs and Border Protection agents must have probable cause of wrongdoing to make stops outside the 100-mile border zone within which they have broad search powers. A NASA scientist heading home to the U.S. said he was detained in January at a Houston airport, where Customs and Border Protection officers pressured him for access to his work phone and its potentially sensitive contents. Last month, CBP agents checked the identification of passengers leaving a domestic flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport during a search for an immigrant with a deportation order. And in October, border agents seized phones and other work-related material from...

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Charge Your Battery While You Bike to Juice Up Your Phone

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch – Who needs a power outlet when you have a bike? The Ride-A-Long charges your electronics as you pedal, providing a portable renewable energy source for bike-enthusiasts. Biking is already pretty environmentally friendly, but this takes it to the next level. Created by Siva Cycle, the product can juice up any USB-powered device such as smartphones and cameras whenever and wherever you’re biking. Simply mount the Ride-Along to any standard bicycle’s back wheel, and as you ride, the wheel delivers juice to the integrated generator and charges its 1650 mAh battery, kind of like a hand-cranked radio. The Ride-A-Long is also detachable, which means you can use it as a spare battery pack when you’re no longer cycling. You can also charge the device through any power outlet at home or at the office if you don’t feel like pedaling. The product, which retails for $129,...

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Baltimore Police Used ‘Stingray’ Spy Device Thousands of Times Since 2007

Document reveals how FBI/police department agreement forces secrecy By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams – The Baltimore Police Department used secretive tracking technology known as “Stingray” for surveillance purposes thousands of times since 2007 and is forced through an agreement with the FBI to withhold information about it. The revelation was made Wednesday in court by a detective with department’s Advanced Technical Team, Emmanuel Cabreja. He was testifying regarding a carjacking and robbery case in which the technology had been used. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called Stingray “an unconstitutional, all-you-can-eat data buffet,” and describes how the technology works in this way: The Stingray is a brand name of an IMSI catcher targeted and sold to law enforcement. A Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower—to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on...

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‘Distracted Walkers’ Are Major Concern for Cities and States

By Tim Henderson, Stateline – They walk in front of cars, and into tree limbs and street signs. They fall off curbs and bridges into wet cement and creek beds. They are distracted walkers who, while calling or texting on mobile phones, have suffered cuts and bruises, sustained serious head injuries or even been killed. As many cities and states promote walkable neighborhoods, in part to attract more young people, some also are levying fines on distracted walkers and lowering speed limits to make streets gentler for the inattentive. Pedestrian injuries due to cell phone use are up 35 percent since 2010, according to federal emergency room data reviewed by Stateline, and some researchers blame at least 10 percent of the 78,000 pedestrian injuries in the U.S. in 2012 on mobile device distraction. The federal Fatality Analysis Reporting system attributes about a half-dozen pedestrians deaths a year to “portable...

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