The administrator of a Tor-friendly email service was detained at the United States border. Vincent Canfield is the creator of the controversial cock.li email provider. Canfield’s email service was used to send threatening emails to a Los Angeles high school in 2015. After a trip to Germany for the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress, he returned to the United States to visit family.
Canfield claims that he had all of his electronics seized by the United States Custom and Border Protection. After demanding him decrypt his phone to “make sure there isn’t any bad stuff on there,” the CBP allegedly threatened to seize all of his electronic devices. He continued to refuse the search and the CBP seized his $2,000 worth of electronic equipment. Canfield is said to have been detained without reason.
Vincent may be forced to wait up to a year to receive his devices back. While a gross invasion of privacy, he is confident the government will not be able to decrypt his drives. In his blog post, he stated that the CBP “Even took my micro USB cable because it can technically plug into my kindle which can plug into my laptop which can plug into my phone so they took it. Bastards.”
Even with the terrible circumstances, Canfield is said to have enjoyed his vacation. We are awaiting an update from Vincent’s lawyers for further information. Vincent was a citizen of the United States but resided in Romania. If true, this was a sweeping violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by CBP. The Fourth Amendment reads, “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.”