The blogosphere is beginning to churn about US v. Romm, in which a defendant unsuccessfully argues that after being denied entry to Canada, and sent back to the US, a search of his computer was improper. Some objections have been raised here, but I offer a 2d:
The court holds:
Here, we hold Romm exercised dominion and control over the images in his cache by enlarging them on his screen, and saving them there for five minutes before deleting them. While the images were displayed on Romm’s screen and simultaneously stored to his laptop’s hard drive, he had the ability to copy, print, or email the images to others.
This is an incorrect statement. Images in the cache are full-size. Google’s cache of thumbnails are, by definition, not full size. So, therefore, saying that he “enlarged” images in his cache doesn’t make sense. Perhaps he was exercising domain and control, but this theory doesn’t work.
Also, I think Judge Bea confuses Internet Explorer’s “protection” of the cache with other protections. In most browsers that I use there is absolutely no protection for the cache. Indeed, one can access the cache via the command line (or even the "open" dialogue in a windows application) and not be hit with any warnings.
Update: A comment at C&F notes that the probable cause was obtained by the Canadians, anyway.
Computer hints follow:
- Wanna take a look at your cache? Point your browser to:
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
I found a picture in my cache of the President of Finland.
- Wanna not have your browsing history or cache stay on the computer when you turn it off? Use Knoppix or DSL. (In fact, I am using a machine without a hard drive at this very moment.) Wanna not have a browswer treat you like a child? Get Firefox. Obviously these suggestions are to maintain the privacy of legitimate uses by attorneys of computers that are worried that someone with interests adverse to their clients might use them later. They are not meant to be used for what that guy was convicted of.