Marlinspike detained, searched without warrant: Sad @moxie__

By Richi Jennings. November 18, 2010.

Moxie Marlinspike (Twitter)
A well-known, white-hat security researcher was detained for several hours at JFK earlier this week. The 'long-haired troublemaker', alias Moxie Marlinspike, also had his laptop and phones confiscated. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers worry about their rights when traveling internationally.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention mesmerizing tweets...

Kim Zetter is on the level:

Moxie Marlinspike, was met by two U.S. Customs ... agents at the door of his plane when he arrived at JFK. ... The agents ... held him for 4½ hours. ... A forensic investigator ... seized Marlinspike’s laptop and two cellphones, and asked for his passwords to access his devices.


Marlinspike gained attention last year ... when he revealed a serious vulnerability in how ... browsers verify digital security certificates. ... Marlinspike first began experiencing increased scrutiny about two months ago. ... Ticket agents told him he was on a federal watchlist.

Elinor Mills has a complex:

The agents did not say what they were looking for or why he was being detained. ... A TSA supervisor ... gave him a phone number to call to inquire about his case ... but the number led to a voice mail box that was full.


Last week, while he had fallen asleep waiting at ... Frankfurt airport ... a man who said he was from the U.S. consulate ... approached him and asked him where he had been. ... The man said he had to make a phone call to Washington, D.C. and then let him go a few minutes later.

Moxie Marlinspike tweets his good-humored frustration:

Know anybody at the TSA or DHS? My feeling is that nepotism is probably the only solution here.


DHS is slowly destroying my ability to run a business with international clients. ... 1hr to get a boarding pass printed at the airport, secondary screening, TSA questioning, CBP questioning, and tertiary screening. ... It adds a lot of overhead to doing intl. biz. if it happens every time.

But Xeni Jardin xounds dixturbed:

This incident is hardly the first for Moxie, and it doesn't sound as if it will be the last. ... [Perhaps] Moxie is being targeted because he has been identified as a friend and intellectual peer of [Jake] Appelbaum ... a volunteer with Wikileaks. Asked whether he too is a volunteer ... Moxie replied ... "Definitely not. If anything, I'm slightly critical of WikiLeaks."

A warrantless search? Zeljka Zorz zooms into this quote:

"From the questions I've had to field it seems like this is part of some larger fishing expedition. There is someone somewhere who wants access to something on my laptop or my phone ... they can't get a warrant without suspicion. So, they wait for me to travel internationally because at the border they can do anything they want."

And Finally...

Mesmerizing tweets
[hat tip: Hermione Way]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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