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Best PracticesCustoms ExpertEnforcementEventsExportImportInternational BusinessInternational LawInternational TradeU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Recap of the 2019 CBP Trade Symposium

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 29, 2019 0 comments

Globe Pic U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held its annual Trade Symposium on July 23 – 24, 2019, in Chicago, IL. With over a thousand attendees, this year’s trade symposium provided a high-level overview of the Agency’s current stance on various issues and the need for stronger partnership between all stakeholders, including the trade community. DTL was on the ground meeting with CBP to get answers to our client’s questions and ensuring we keep our readers in the loop on CBP’s TOP trade priorities. The two-day event included panel discussions and one on one meetings with the Directors and Executive Directors other Centers of Excellence and Expertise, along with exhibitor booths that ranged from CBP Enforcement of Forced Labor, AD/CVD, and IPR to USDA and FDA. Here is a detailed recap of who, what, and when:

DAY ONE:

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International TravelU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Air Cargo Advanced Screening

posted by Jennifer Diaz August 22, 2018 1 Comment

Following September 11, 2001 commercial airlines’ vulnerability and appeal to terrorists became apparent. In 2002 the Department of Homeland Security was established solely to protect Americans from threats like these.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cooperate to facilitate safe travel and transportation into the United States. Under the current regulatory framework, TSA has responsibility for ensuring the security of the nation’s transportation of cargo by air into the United States while CBP has responsibility for securing the nation’s borders by preventing high-risk cargo from entering the US. Continue Reading

CounterfeitsCustoms BrokerImportInternational LawInternational TradeIPR, Trademarks and LogosSeizuresU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

34,143 IPR Seizures in 2017, Sets Record!

posted by Jennifer Diaz June 25, 2018 2 Comments

IPRThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is tasked with the monitoring of and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). In DHS’s annual report, it discusses over 11 million containers arriving at seaports, 10 million transported on land by trucks, 3 million transported by train, and another quarter billion express packages transported by mail and plane. This report serves delves the work done by DHS.

The DHS’ annual report investigates products that infringe US trademarks and copyrights or are subject to exclusion orders issued by the US International Trade Commission as it threatens the health and safety of American consumers and poses risks to our national interests.
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U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Does the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Make Us Safer?

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 17, 2011 3 Comments

I read a fascinating article entitled "HOMELAND SECURITY HASN’T MADE US SAFER," written by Anne Applebaum, a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate.  It was in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy magazine.  The article criticized the massive spending of time and money by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Ms. Applebaum aimed her barbs right at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with the comment:  "As for the TSA, I am not aware of a single bomber or bomb plot stopped by its time-wasting procedures."

I started thinking about it, and even as a pretty well informed customs and international trade attorney, I could not recall a single incident either.  I have seen the indignities of TSA personnel at the airport force handicapped and elderly people out of their wheelchairs.  I have also been the victim of TSA officers groping around my private areas during one of their random, ‘enhanced pat down’ searches.  For a rollicking good laugh, I encourage you to read the official TSA Blog.  People say the strangest things about their air travel experiences to the TSA from the supposed privacy and safety of their computers.

The TSA submitted a budget request of $8.1 billion for fiscal year 2012. With the billions of dollars spent by both the Bush and Obama Administrations over the past 10 years in the ‘War on Terrorism’ and in support of ‘homeland security,’ the question of whether or not the TSA’s 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers make us safer through its passenger and baggage screening procedures is still debatable.

I would still like to meet the idiot savant who came up with the 3-1-1 TSA rule about carrying liquids aboard an airplane.  I can’t figure out why we had the technology to send men to the moon in 1969, but in 2011 still have to take our shoes off before walking through a TSA x-ray machine.  I guess the silver lining in all this is that, relatively speaking, the air and ocean cargo screening procedures by the TSA are much better thought out and reasonable.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Customs Wants to Know What’s in Your Laptop

posted by Jennifer Diaz September 9, 2009 3 Comments

Whenever you cross the border of the United States, you are subject to a border search. Borders include international airports and seaports, in addition to land crossings with Mexico and Canada.  U.S. Customs has authority to search persons and things that cross the border  – your car, your private yacht, your private jet, your luggage, and yes, even your mobile phone, laptop, and iPod.     In an August 27, 2009 press release, United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano set forth some guidelines to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)and to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about searching electronic media devices.

The new guidelines are considered vital to DHS’s mission in “detecting information that poses a serious harm to the United States, including terrorist plans… or possession of child pornography and trademark or copyright infringement.”  Interestingly, the press release stated: “Between October 1, 2008 and August 11, 2009, CBP encountered more than 221 million travelers at U.S. ports of entry.  Approximately 1,000 laptop searches were performed in these instances – of those, just 46 were in-depth.”  The DHS website provides examples of when the searches of electronic media devices resulted in arrests of individuals transporting the devices.

Civil libertarians have long been concerned about U.S. Customs’ authority to search electronic media, considering it a possible invasion of privacy.  As one commentor publicly said to Secretary Napolitano “You and your government are paranoid!”  Sen. Feingold (D-WI) stated during 2008 Congressional hearings on this issue: “When the Government looks through the contents of your laptop, is that just like looking through the contents of a suitcase, car trunk, or purse? Or does it raise dignity and privacty interests that are more akin to an invasive search of the person, such that some individualized suspicion should be required before the search is conducted?”

Section 5.1.2 of the U.S. Customs Directive No. 3340-049 issued on August 20, 2009 states “In the course of a border search, with or without individualized suspicion, a Customs officer may examine any electronic device and may review and analyze the information [contained therein].”  And what about if the information is perfectly legal, but confidential, perhaps containing medical information, or sensitive business information.  No worries, says the Directive, it will remain confidential by Customs, and the information will be destroyed within 5 days thereafter.  Customs says it will keep statistics of such searches.

The concept of a border search is that no probable cause, or any cause whatsoever, is needed by the Customs officer to stop and search persons or things at the border.  That has been the law of the land since this country was founded and U.S. Customs was created.  To allay any such concerns, and to educate international travelers, DHS took the unprecedented step of simultaneously issuing a “Privacy Impact Statement”.  This is a remarkable document.  Moreover, the electronic media device search policy will be monitored by DHS’s Office of Privacy which is led by Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan.

I wrote about this issue in the Customs and International Trade Bar Association’s Spring 2008 newsletter.   I was also extensively quoted in the September 2008 PC Today magazine article “entitled “Notebook Search and Seizure: What Can Happen & What You Can Do”.    The concerns I expressed in those articles remain.  I am encouraged by Secretary Napolitano’s and Acting Customs’ Commissioner Jay Ahern’s approaches to this sensitive issue, and hope that the DHS’ Office of Privacy and Inspector General both vigorously scrutinize the actual implementation of this new Directive.

P.S. I still wonder, what happened with the people and laptops for the approximately 1,000 laptop searches that Customs performed this past year, and what does it mean that a laptop is searched “in-depth”?