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And You Thought the Airline Battery Rules Were Too Much

This is hot off the press and could affect all photographers returning from assignments abroad.  U.S. Federal agents can seize electronic devices and printed material at the U.S. border for indefinite periods and without any cause.  The list includes laptops, hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, video tapes, audio tapes, books, pamphlets and any other written materials.  Though they are not listed one would have to assume CD’s and DVD’s are included.

So, if you are coming back from an assignment out of the country and you have your images on your laptop and you’ve been good so they are backed up on compact flash cards, DVD’s or external hard drives – it can all be seized.  Gee, it’s not like there are going to be a ton of photojournalists and print journalists coming back from China, let’s say in late August, right?!…

Reuters’ story on the new policy from the Department of Homeland Security.  It turns out the policy has long been in effect but only disclosed in July.