Friday, January 11, 2008

Laptops at the border ...

Gridskipper has an interesting post dealing with the government's ability to search your belongings when entering the U.S. border. This is interesting to me now that I am taking criminal procedure.

It's well established that when an individual enters a secure zone, you basically give consent for the government to search your property. It's basic choice: agree to let them look through your stuff or leave the area. This is why it's constitutional for the TSA to look through your stuff at the airport. The same applies to border crossings. So then an interesting question arises: does the government also have the right to browse through the data contained in devices going through the border? According to an L.A. district court, "Electronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory, they are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound." This means data from the laptop you carry across the border is not admissible at trial.

The post argues that this extension of our minds to cover data on devices will probably be reversed. However, the good news is that you cannot be forced to give up the password to your encrypted data by the government as this would violate 5th amendment right against self incrimination. So here is my follow up question: does this means that if the government can crack your encryption, they can use any resulting personal data as evidence against you? I'll ask my professor ....

Back to School ...

While I was away on vacation I tried to think of school as little as possible. Now that I am back, I finally have to face the reality and realize that law school was not just a bad dream. I got the first half of my grades back, better than last term. I finally finished rearranging my schedule after I decided I did not want to take two four unit courses. Here is what I am taking this term: Con Law II, Mass Tort Litigation, Technology Agreement Drafting, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, and Evidence. I have no class on Tuesdays and Fridays, but class on Saturday. This is much better than my original schedule, but I still hate giving up my Friday nights. My final schedule in May is also much better.

I still don't have all of my textbooks. I am missing my Mass Tort and Crim Pro books, which I ordered from, and I am still not sure if the people that are selling the books there are planning to send them to me anytime soon. I might just breakdown and get them from the bookstore.

Well I should get back to my reading for my tomorrow's Saturday class at 9am. Ewww.....

Monday, January 7, 2008

Florida Part II: The Final Chapter ....

I was having so much fun down in Florida that I was not able to update again. So I have a lot to write about.

January 2, 2008 (Wednesday), as promised I went golfing. This was the first time that I have golfed and I really sucked. We only did nine holes, but it was a great introduction to the game. This is not something that you can just pick up immediately. At first, I had a hard time just making contact with the ball. Eventually I was hitting the ball and even had a couple of great shots. I can see how people can get addicted to this game. Unfortunately, this is something that requires a lot of instruction (aka paying trainers lots of $$$), so I will probably not be taking up the sport. After golf, we had lunch with a bunch of Becky's math nerd friends. They were entertaining, and since we were all nerds, we got along great. After lunch, we all went out bowling. As always, I sucked, I even managed to break bowling. On my turn I hit a pin and it slid to the side without falling, this confused the bowling machine which then decided to freeze. It took over 20 minutes before somebody eventually was able to fix it. After bowling we went back home, dinner, hang out, sleep.

January 3, 2008. It rained the entire day! Mr. Streit invited me to come up to his law firm in West Palm beach and talk to the head of the IP department. He works for Akerman Senterfitt which has several IP lawyers at this branch. It was an interesting conversation, and gave me a glimpse into law firms outside of California. After the meeting, Mr. Streit, Becky and I had lunch together. Afterwards we killed some time walking around downtown West Palm Beach before we went to the train station to pickup Becky's uncle who is visiting from Miami. Drove back, more rain and basically for the rest of the day we just spent it indoors hanging out together. I got caught up on my leisure reading:Wuthering Heights.

January 4, 2008. More rain in the morning, more hang out. Believe or not, I loved it. We did decline an offer to go salsa dancing because we are lame. Becky's parents invited us that night to go see a mentalist (guy who can read you mind) Marc Salem. He was able to tell when people are lying just by subtle changes in their demeanor. At one point he was able to read serials off dollar bills from the audience while blindfolded. This was a sweet show, and recommend that you see it if you have the chance. Went back home, sleep.

January 5, 2008. Miami day! I promised relatives in Miami that I would see them today. So Becky and I drove down to Miami, it took about 1.5 hrs, not that long. We had a plan for things to do, but the weather did not permit. First we wanted to go ballooning. Basically you go up in the air on a helium ballon to get a bird's eye view of the city. No ballon rides because of the rain and wind. We also wanted to play on a trapeze, but the place was closed (probably because of the weather). Instead we walked around the Miami Bayside and had lunch there. Nothing exciting. After that we went to a cool museum/house called Vizcaya. Basically it was a rich guy's house, built to look old. There were a lot of antiques and beautiful gardens. Lot's of pictures on my flickr page. This place reminded me a lot of Hearst Castle , but smaller. After Vizcaya, we went to meet my relatives. This was interesting. They were loud, but happy to see me. I am glad that I got a chance to see them. I need to thank Becky for putting up with them for two hours. After meeting them, I took Becky to a local Nicaraguan restaurant. We ordered a huge platter of food with many different types of food like vigoron, tajadas, maduro, taquitos, queso frito, and gallo pinto (oh man I love gallo pinto!). We had to take most of it back home. On our way out I bought a bottle of that good 12 yr old Nicaraguan rum I like. We headed back to Jupiter. This time it took us 2 hours to get back. We rented Harrold and Kumar and watched before going to sleep. Becky's parents (and uncle) joined us halfway through to watch the movie with us. We tried to use the hot tub, heated it, went in, but it was slimy so we got out almost immediately. Sleep.

January 6, 2008. Last full day in Florida. The early day we stayed indoors because of the rain (again). In the afternoon we went canoeing at a local river. I finally got to see an alligator! Bite! Lot's of pics here. We then had dinner ... yummm beef. The Streit family and I spent the night watching Simpsons, King of Hill, and two hours of American Gladiators. Afterwards Becky and I got into the hot tub (after initially getting burned because it was too hot). We were there pretty late, then sleep.

January 7, 2007. Woke up at 6am for my 8:15am flight out of PBI. Over 5 hrs to get to Vegas. Spent a couple of bucks on the slot machines (not really as exciting as I was hoping) and got to LAX around 1pm local time. From there I went to school (today was my first day). Made it to my afternoon class and did not get back to my apartment until 7pm. Finished Wuthering Heights on the train. Now I am tired, gonna try my new rum and go to sleep.

Over all this was such a great trip. Seriously, even the times when we did nothing but relax indoors was fun. I am very thankful to the Streit parental units for putting up with my for so long. They truly made me feel welcomed.