Are You Living in a Fourth Amendment Exclusion Zone?

Anthony Gucciardi
February 24th, 2013
Updated 04/08/2013 at 8:45 pm

Major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and even Houston have been declared by the Department of Homeland Security to be within the official 100 mile ‘border’ of the United States, subjecting 197 million citizens to electronic belonging searches without any suspicion.

It all started in 2008, when the DHS declared that certain ‘border control agents’ could search the electronic belongings of individuals without suspicion — let alone a warrant. Bypassing the rights provided by the Constitutional to every citizen of the United States, the DHS immediately came under fire for the policy. The response? The DHS promised to have the policy reviewed within 120 days. The catch? The review was done two years late and by their own review panel known as the Civil Liberties Impact division.

Absent of any independent input in their secretive review, the DHS published a brief document stating that the suspicionless search policy was perfectly reasonable. Laptops, cell phones, camcorders, and all other gadgets were open game for the DHS within the ‘borders’ of the country.

Entire States Swallowed By DHS ‘Border’

As you can see in the image below provided by the ACLU which highlights the 100 mile radius established by the ridiculous DHS policy, the 197 million individuals living on this outlandishly-extensive ‘border’ accounts for nearly 2/3 of the entire nation’s population. From Washington D.C. to the entire state of Florida (thanks to its coastal positioning), the massive ‘border’ suffocates most of the major cities within the US — and most likely your home.

fourth amendment free zone dhs

And chances are you won’t be hearing about in on the nightly news. That is unless the alternative media forces major news networks to cover it as has been successfully done in the past. What’s more is that the DHS has failed to even outline why they decided to uphold the policy, and has used the tired excuse of ‘national security’ as a defense from publishing their data beyond the brief document. In fact, the DHS claims that upholding the Constitution would actually be harmful to the public. In the explanation as to why these searches are necessary throughout virtually every major city, the DHS states:

“…Imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits…”

What civil rights or civil liberties benefits? The report says nothing. It does fail to mention how the Fourth Amendment already imposes a ‘requirement’ that officers have reasonable suspicion before going through the belongings of any individual from New York City to Houston, however.

As of now, the ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain more information from the DHS, and are engaged in a lawsuit after the DHS searched an individual and detained him through the use of this policy.

If the DHS has no problem coming after the Fourth Amendment despite operating under the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, will DHS offocials have any trouble coming after another amendment as well? Will the DHS uphold all of its constant injustices through internal reviews that don’t even provide details into the analysis? The fact of the matter is that if we allow the DHS to trample over the Fourth Amendment through suspicionless searches, it is inevitable that they will push even harder in their next policy update.

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Category: Constitution, US

Anthony Gucciardi

About the Author ()

Google Plus Profile Anthony Gucciardi is the creator of Storyleak, accomplished writer, producer, and seeker of truth. His articles have been read by millions worldwide and are routinely featured on major alternative news websites like the infamous Drudge Report, Infowars, NaturalNews, G Edward Griffin's Reality Zone, and many others. He is also a founding member of the third largest alternative health site in the world,

Comments (76)

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  1. carlwk3c says:

    With apologies to Forest Gump … "Tyrants are as tyrants do."

  2. Jaan says:

    The DHS exhibits unbelievable arrogance in its "border" demarcation and in its arbitrary snooping of citizens' electronic files. It is something beyond toleration.

  3. disturbed&confused says:

    Can someone explain how this works. How might someone be stopped and detained for a search of electronic posessions?

    • If you are living in or traveling through one of the major cities, towns, or highways within the 100 mile 'border', under these regulations Department of Homeland Security (not the regular police) can simply stop you without suspicion. In other words, for doing nothing wrong. They can then search all of your electronic belongings.

      When I say 'can', by the way, it is allowed under this new policy. It is not, however, allowed under the Fourth Amendment and that is how the lawsuit stated from the ACLU following the usage of this policy.

      • ACLUCop says:

        Anthony, I am a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. I am outraged, but have to do a bit more research because I worry you might have missed something because you misstated (more liberally) what right you have with the 4th amendment against search and seizure (not that it will matter to Homeland Security, but need to make sure you understand the 4th amendment).

        You stated "It does fail to mention how the Fourth Amendment already imposes a ‘requirement’ that officers have reasonable suspicion before going through the belongings of any individual"…

        Actually, the 4th amendment requires MORE than reasonable suspicion for a search. It requires the more stringent "probable cause" element(s). Reasonable Suspicion, established with Terry vs. Ohio in 1964, allows a "pat down" of a person based on reasonable suspicion, NOT a full blown search, and NOT a search of a car, belongings, etc. Probable Cause is when the officer can articulate more than just suspicious activity (the basis for a personal pat down), but actual evidence the a crime is occurring or occurred (i.e., blood trail, statements made, etc). Just wanted to be clear on that. still researching to make sure outrage is not only righteous, but our civic duty to fight it.

        • kevin says:

          ACLUCOP big surprise you thrown up 1 of the biggest criminal underminings that police have used for the last 30 years to rape and pillage the citizens of this country. you and I both know being an officer, that anytime you want to spin a web to get cause and reasonable suspicion ,you can do whatever you want . detain arrest search SEIZURE excetera excetera. that is why the supreme court now in the last 2 years has went against you police officers to change the way you can search and pull people over . unfortunately it almost takes a court ruling in the Supreme Court to change any actions that you have on the local, county , and state levels. also if you think this is wrong just going to Texas New Mexico Arizona at 1 of the Border Patrol check check stations ,which some are up to over 150 miles off of the borderand just try to decline answering any of their questions . see how well that works out for you while you’re being illegally detained ,and questions for being a quote un quote terrorist of the country . our country is a joke. our chosen law officials, I think that they can pass whatever lost they want regardless of what people in their districts believe , the proof is this is the GM and Chrysler bailout 80 percent of the country didn’t want that to go through, but alas it went through all under the explanation that our fine Society needed stabilization growth and we couldn’t lose these brands . then you have all of our local and state law enforcement agencies to become nothing more than a revenue generator , aka attacking and taxing its citizens to the point of non recognition and compliance. We are in trouble and if you don’t think so you are either blind or getting a handout .

          • RTZ says:

            RTFP before you attack, Kevin. ACLU cop was clarfying the 4th IN SUPPORT of this thread, not against it. Allways be sure of your target and what's behind it before you shoot…basic gun safety, generally applicable.

        • EndCorporatocracy says:

          Hey, bud!

          Please consider joining Oathkeepers:

  4. Steve says:

    Perhaps we should all keep some interesting fake data on our electronic devices for the DHS boobs to discover, such as odd phone contacts – I suggest Colonel Mustard (remember the old board game Clue?) or actual DHS employees so they'll wonder if those are loyal, or like secret plans to invade Mars, or a scheme to overthrow the government by using jello, or even status reports of how we have successfully infiltrated the DHS with lots of our own people. LOL, that should make them sweat a bit and go on some wild goose chases! Of course keep any actual private data protected in encrypted folders. LOL, this is almost too easy and fun, like how Bo and Luke used to turn the tables on Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on the old TV sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard.

    • joe says:

      I wouldn't be so cheeky if I were you. By (US) law, you are required
      to provide the password to your encrypted data to the authorities, or
      else DHS can put you behind bars.

      • Bob says:

        By US law, you are required to void your rights? A suspect is one thing. Thinking you're suspicious is not grounds for a warrant-less search.

      • Ronald Smith says:

        Wow, it’s clear that you don’t know US law very well. Have fun with that.

      • Steve says:

        I doubt that DHS authorities have the legal power to require you to provide a password to your encrypted data at the risk of imprisonment. That goes against our right to remain silent and not incriminate ourselves. However, it would still be fun to entertain such a DHS boob's request for a password. Waste a bunch of time by trying to remember the password ("I know it has something to do with my dog's name, or maybe it was related to my favorite dish… Yeah, I might have used "vermicelli" or "spaghetti". Wait, how many h's are in spaghetti? Do you like Italian food? I really like chicken cacciatore but I knew I'd never remember how to spell that. Wait, I think I remember; I graduated in 1987, so let's try Spaghetti1987…. darn, that didn't work. Oh, you're stressing me out here; I can't remember!"). Have a lot of encrypted folders with suspicious names, and stumble over all the passwords. Manage to get into one of them and find that it has an email with the message "Gotcha!". In other encrypted folders have some corny knock-knock jokes. Have fun with this sport. It is definitely not an imprisonable offense to be in possession of encrypted data for which you don't recall the password. If they insist otherwise, tell them the password and insist that it is correct, but you don't know why it is not working.

        • Leonidas says:

          Though I don't live in one of those areas, I do have a little something cooked up all the same. I have a laptop loaded with the most disturbing and disgusting porn from Germany I could find on the internet. The entire HDD is crammed full of it, and none of the file names or folders give any indication as to what they are. They're all given names innocuous enough to be suspicious…

          • Joe says:

            You realize that nothing keeps you from having an application that randomly fills a partition up with randomly (possibly) encrypted files and making it so that no metadata other than filenames and paths exist, right? I seem to remember… started and ended with a T I think. Hmm, better stick to 7.1. Although you might want to double-check the SHA checksum. ;)
            You could actually buy a 2TB HDD, format it this way, and already have it at 99% used capacity. It's going to be interesting to see what comes up as a replacement for TrueCrypt. Some prefer LUKS. BitLocker is a joke since it came from the same people who gave us MS-CHAP 1&2. Can you say deliberate weaknesses? I'm sure you can.

            The entire point is that even if I gave you 10 passwords, you'd not know for sure if there's an 11th. If the passwords are memorable… See, that's the only flaw. It's really easy to lose a lot of data.

    • Marc says:

      I have my mom saved on my phone as "Osama Bin Laden". … I suppose I should probably update that to someone who's still alive.

    • Lucy says:

      Like this?

  5. InvaluableInfo says:

    Seems like the government expansion is continuing at an even faster pace. This department has been an atrocity to the constitution since its inception. We have now progressed from a crawl to a walk to a run towards tyranny. If you say that though you must be a conspiracy theorist. Even though their own actions show they are planing to remove every protection and freedom they can.

  6. Mike says:

    I say if they take one amendment away we get to make up one on the spot.

    • @Norton1776 says:

      Well… Let me think. I kind-a have my first? and my 2nd is on my hip (+)… what is the third again? My 2nd never really get's me to consider all the others!!! If done right?

  7. Roland says:

    Some entire countries would be swallowed up by that "border". What a bunch of criminals making a law like that.

    • Hagar says:

      Ahhh Shucks Roland, the DHS is set up to protect you from outside invasion errrrrr sorry, they cannot do that might anger some muslims or illegals. Darn. They are set up to control the US population, oh heck that has been done already by brainwashing and pussification. Maybe they are there to protect you from terrorist acts like the boston hit, oh heck, where in the heck were they. My point is that the US and its corrupt govt agencies have become a joke to the people of the US and other nations.

      • Security Bear says:

        I don't like that talk, Hagar. It sounds like tare-o-wist talk! Don't you understand that we do this out of wuuuuuv?

  8. rjg says:

    Please send this to Colbert and/or John Stewart, at this point they are probably our best chance of getting the word out to the masses and forcing the mainstream press to cover this BS.

    • imNOTdeceived says:


    • rjg: Just don't expect Stewart to support your interest in the Second Amendment–the functional teeth of the First. Like many who lean to the Left the has a blind spot when it comes to guns. It is hard to understand; in all other matters he seems so intelligent that it is hard to imagine that he thinks guns kill people and should be put into special gun prisons. His humor is so profoundly serious it is strange that he is so illogical in this matter. The Second is about protecting oneself and one's community against the tyranny of big government. Google: "democide" to see how many people have been killed by their own governments in the 20th Century.
      P. S. Liberal Naomi Watts (is it Wattsor Wolf?) had her awakening since she joined the lawsuit against the NDAA and realized then the practical reasons for a Second Amendment. Funny how people, otherwise intelligent, only see this when they are personally threatened. The mind should be able to make the connections without being personally involved; I mean, universals are actually that universals and apply to all, eh?

  9. Jessika says:

    i want to see a link of this "report" they have done.

  10. Eemgoch8 says:

    Encrypt your shit. It makes a statement. It also protects you from that lowest bidder government contractor sifting through your personal data.

  11. EJW says:

    I do hope this info gets to the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.
    I'm pretty sure that they would ALL agree that bypassing the Forth Amendment in this fashion is criminal.

    What the Forth Amendment protects us from, search & seizure without due cause, was one of the BIG issues that sent us to war with Britain. Does the DHS want the citizens of the USA to rebel against them and thus the US Government as it says we SHOULD do in the Declaration of Independence when the government no longer works FOR the people?

    • Rufus says:


    • AndrewC says:

      You really think the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court don't know about this? They don't care about your rights. Congress will gladly strip us of all of our rights if it benefits them. They'll just make sure there's a clause that says the new law doesn't apply to them, just like they've done with everything else.

      • Ronald Smith says:

        Precisely! Some people have no clue who’s actually creating this drivel. There’s no way those people listed give a crap about this, they’re the ones who made it happen. Telling them about it would only give them confirmation of our awareness to the fact, nothing else.

    • Adam says:

      That's fighting talk!

    • You need to WAKE UP!!!! The left had control of both the House and Senate starting in 2006, and they have been blatantly assaulting our Constitutionally protected, God given rights ever since. Now you add to the mix an Illegal Usurper in the White House, and covert left wingers pretending to be Conservatives and committing open treason against those that put them in power…and here we are!!! The time for any Peaceful Resolution to this matter is all but gone!!!

  12. LinkoWinko says:

    I say we protect our 4th amendment rights (and all other rights granted to us by the constitution) by exercising our 2nd amendment rights :)

  13. arb says:

    Interesting how the DHS appears to have ceded all of the Great Lakes to Canada, because otherwise Chicago isn't even close to being a "border" city.

  14. canyounot says:

    what in the actual shit. no.

  15. Avalon says:

    What's the source of this information?

  16. Craig. says:

    Americans deserve to be restricted in everyway possible, as long as 'they' are preventing you from leaking out into the rest of the world, I am all for it.

    • Jocelyne says:

      You do understand that the U.S is supposed to be the "land of the free." How in Chuck's name does restricting us in every way possible make this the "land of the free"?

      • Ronald Smith says:

        Because “Craig” is a commie piece of dirtbag anal scum, that’s how. Don’t worry, “he” is just a disinformative troll who has nothing better to do than to distract people on the web with stupid comments that attract attention. It’s called “attention-whoring”. Just ignore it and move on. :)

    • David Strider says:

      What is it that you have so bad against America?
      And please give us a valid reason, otherwise your comment, and what you might reply with would just be a waste of space and typing energy.

  17. Kate says:

    Oh thank goodness, finally border control will be able to address the national security threat that is Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Those ne'er do wells have been squeezing through a Constitutional loophole for too long!

  18. Arb says:

    It's the same thing as airport security. Don't like it? Don't cross the border.

    • I'm in Philadelphia. I'm no where NEAR a border that can be crossed easily.

    • Ame says:

      I didn't know Austin, Texas was the border to Mexico. Idiot.

    • kenroar says:

      My home town is in northern Indiana and nowhere near any border. I didn't realize I was crossing any kind of border when I visit my home town. Now be a good low information voter and go back to the Huffington Post where most of you haunt.

    • Sitting on Arb says:

      Attitudes like that are absolutely pathetic and stupid. "Don't like it? Don't do this necessity then. Problem solved".

      Absolute moron

  19. Homer says:

    Um Arb…. this is NOTHING like airport "security". This doesn't mention anything about crossing a border. You are impacted by simply BEING near a border. READ. Hope you like some random gov't employee reading your emails….

  20. Sean says:

    I didn't know the Canadian border extended throughout Lake Michigan.

  21. Alan says:

    And here's what DHS is using their unrestrained power to do.

    "Homeland Security Seizes 70+ Websites for Copyright and Trademark Violations"

    That's right. They claim they do this for our security but they are using the information to enforce commercial interests.

    I'm all for legitimate property rights, but we can't sacrifice our privacy to protect our property rights. We can't allow the authorities to go on endless fishing expeditions. The probable cause standard was created by the founders for very good reasons.

  22. John Smith says:

    anyone ever read Little Brother by Cory Doctorow?


  23. Hard Case says:

    When they finally come for my guns, they can have my ammo too.

  24. anonymouse says:

    will DHS offocials have any trouble coming after another amendment as well?

    Read more:

  25. BobtheGrape says:

    In the middle of the article about Homeland Suxcurity there appears this:

    Homeland Security Career?

    Earn your homeland security degree. Find more information here!

  26. Getitright says:

    The map is incorrect. For example. Raleigh NC is more than a hudred miles from the coast.

  27. Paul Revere JR says:

    Time for a repeat of 1776!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "The Tyrants are Coming! The Tyrants are Coming!!!!!

  28. j2saret says:

    I see the ACLU was raising the alarm back in 2008. A little late to the party arn't you? BTW who was president in 2008. Which partry had the majority?

  29. pearler says:

    Hmm,it did not work for england,it did not work for napolean,it did not work for hitler,iTIs working for russia @ the time being.
    If the ones We the People,not sheeple,nor pequins,choose to Represent Our CONSTITUTION and LAWS do knot;).
    Then vote them out,erase their names and financial abilities and continue onward:).
    There ya go,cain't git no simpler;).Sea?

  30. jesusknight says:

    The ACLU can go screw themselves.. My Constitutional rights are not legally abrogated by YOU, they are endowed by my Creator and my countries founding documents. The Constitution is the law of the land whether you like it or not.

  31. vintagemodern81 says:

    I suspect that this is part of a larger build-up for the State to seize all power, whether through the imposition of of martial law or some other prevaricative mechanism.. I'm speaking in terms of something like the old analogy of the frog placed in a pot of tepid water where in the water is heated in slow measure resulting in an amphibian that is cooked before the hapless critter is even aware of such.

  32. PooHitsFan says:

    Sorry for this but, as earlier posted about North Carolina, Michigan is also covered and its almost 200 mi across at its widest point. Also, Lake Michigan is entirely within the US boundary.

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