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Americans-Only; Fourth Amendment

Overdue for another post. Being Canadian, living in Canada but working for a company headquartered in the US, I've taken more than a passing interest in what my rights, or lack there-of, are. Take the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution for example:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It's really quite subtle. Having grown up under constant barrage of programming produced in the US, it's all too easy to take for granted that the laws and rights trumpeted apply to us as well. As the saying goes, when you assume...

Since I'm not an American citizen, it would be foolish of me to assume that I qualify as one of the people referred to. In other words, I have no rights beyond what our embassy may (or may not) be able to negotiate after the fact.

So every time I travel to the US, I do so with no expectations of privacy. Being your typical techie white-guy, I blend in, don't fuss about anything, drive safely, and generally go with the flow. Having seen what happens to non-citizens that deviate from the norm, it's rather depressing knowing that if I were to land up in the wrong place at the wrong time I'd be worse than S.O.L'd.

Ah well, such are the choices I continue to make. I'm not about to stop visiting my friends to the South just because of a silly little fear like this...


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2007 10:31 PM.

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