The Law of Laptop Search and Seizure

Presented at DEF CON 18 (2010), July 30, 2010, 1 p.m. (50 minutes)

This talk will teach attendees about their legal rights in information stored on their laptops, including when crossing the United States border. We will answer questions such as: What do the police need to do to seize your laptop? Can the U.S. government force you to turn over your password during a border search? Do you have constitutional rights in email and other data stored in the cloud? What happens when the government attempts to force disclosure of passwords? Finally, we will give attendees practical advice on when to do when the police want to take their computers and how to secure device-accessible information, whether on the hard drive or stored remotely.

Presenters:

  • Marcia Hofmann - Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Marcia Hofmannis a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where she focuses on electronic privacy, computer crime, and other civil liberties issues. Documents made public though her Freedom of Information Act work have been reported by the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, Fox News, and CNN, among others. Prior to joining EFF, Marcia was Staff Counsel and Director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), where she worked on a broad range of privacy issues and spearheaded EPIC's efforts to learn about emerging government policies in the post-9/11 era. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and Mount Holyoke College.
  • Kurt Opsahl - Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Kurt Opsahl is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation focusing on civil liberties, free speech and privacy law. Before joining EFF, Opsahl worked at Perkins Coie, where he represented technology clients with respect to intellectual property, privacy, defamation, and other online liability matters, including working on Kelly v. Arribasoft, MGM v. Grokster and CoStar v. LoopNet. For his work responding to government subpoenas, Opsahl is proud to have been called a "rabid dog" by the Department of Justice. Prior to Perkins, Opsahl was a research fellow to Professor Pamela Samuelson at the U.C. Berkeley School of Information Management & Systems. Opsahl received his law degree from Boalt Hall, and undergraduate degree from U.C. Santa Cruz. Opsahl co-authored "Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook. In 2007, Opsahl was named as one of the "Attorneys of the Year" by California Lawyer magazine for his work on the O'Grady v. Superior Court appeal.
  • Kevin Bankston - Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney specializing in free speech and privacy law, was the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Equal Justice Works/Bruce J. Ennis Fellow for 2003-05. His fellowship project focused on the impact of post-9/11 anti-terrorism laws and surveillance initiatives on online privacy and free expression. Before joining EFF, Kevin was the Justice William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City. At the ACLU, Kevin litigated Internet-related free speech cases, including First Amendment challenges to both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Edelman v. N2H2, Inc.) and a federal statute regulating Internet speech in public libraries (American Library Association v. U.S.). Kevin received his J.D. in 2001 from the University of Southern California Law Center, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Austin.
  • Jennifer S. Granick - Civil Liberties Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation   as Jennifer Granick
    Jennifer Granick is the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Before EFF, Granick was a Lecturer in Law and Executive Director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School where she taught Cyberlaw and Computer Crime Law. She practices in the full spectrum of Internet law issues including computer crime and security, national security, constitutional rights, and electronic surveillance, areas in which her expertise is recognized nationally. Before teaching at Stanford, Jennifer spent almost a decade practicing criminal defense law in California. She was selected by Information Security magazine in 2003 as one of 20 "Women of Vision" in the computer security field. She earned her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her undergraduate degree from the New College of the University of South Florida.

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