A Little Bird Told Me…

I want to start off this impromptu post by sharing how blogging can enrich ones life in directions and avenues never imagined.  For me, among the blessings I’ve encountered with blogging has been the blossoming of global friendships.  These friendships may have started with someone regularly commenting on my blog to sending me a private email.  Eventually maybe we have exchanged phone numbers if located in the same area and in a few but so special cases, we have had the chance to meet already feeling like old friends with none of the awkwardness associated with a first time meeting. Although we have not personally met yet, Aafke, who blogs as clouddragon, has become one of those treasured friends.  We keep the bandwidth hopping with our messages back and forth.  During my recent illness although I was in the hospital and could not access the internet, Aafke without fail sent me a daily electronic greeting card.  Those so brightened my day and my spirits even as I read them belatedly once I was recuperating from home.
Aafke can always be counted on for witty prose but can also be very serious when she chooses to.  Although her blog is not about Saudi Arabia nor is she muslim, she has a keen understand of life in Saudi Arabia and deep appreciation for the rites of Islam too.
Yes, it is obvious I am one of her biggest fans and do encourage everyone who has not yet done so, to drop in and discover her blog.  And while you’re doing so, be sure and wish her birthday greetings as well.  A little bird told me she has a birthday coming up this week.  I just wish that many of us from the blogosphere could drop in on her and take her out to her favorite Chinese restaurant where we would make sure she would get the best fortune cookie ever or just get her a big box of chocolate we all know how she much she will love that!

Happy Birthday Aafke – may it be the most special of days for you this year! 


Confiscation of Laptops – How Will Saudis Fare?

On 01 August the Washington Post  published an article entitled “Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At Border, No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies.”   Basically the article states that Department of Homeland Security has the right to confiscate for an unspecified period of time and unspecified location any laptop computers entering the United States to evaluate for suspicious data or any alleged links to terrorism.  No probably cause or suspicion is required when opting to confiscate an individuals laptop.  This law has no discrimination and is applicable to both US citizens reentering the United States and foreign nationals.  Regardless of what the law may claim, of course (in my view) laptops will be confiscated for evaluation based on profiling such as nationality, race, religion, locations traveled.  Furthermore as the article states, information found on the laptop may be shared with numerous other agencies as well in the name of National Security.

Now if I were a business person returning from a business trip that just happened to be in the Middle East region (the UAE is prospering these days and an excellent place in which to do business for example) I would have strong objections to my laptop being apprehended for unspecified inspection.  How can one be assured their proprietary business data or financial data is secure?  Who makes the decision on whose email address book should be reviewed and shared?  And how will Saudis fare with these rulings?  Will the US government willingly provide the statistics on how many laptops are apprehended and provide breakdowns on nationalities?  I doubt it, for that would likely fall under “national security” and “Joe Public” does not have a need to know.

Reading this article makes it sound like the United States is becoming more of a police state not only outside but inside its borders as well.  All I can say is there better be credible threat evidence to invade privacy at this new level.

For those interested in reading the article themselves, click here…


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