I personally think this is outrageous. Border Agents in the United States can not only search your laptop, mobile phone or any other electronic device that you might be carrying while traveling to the United States; They can also download computer contents or keep it for further examination. There are no written rules yet on the dos and don'ts of the process and while it is unlikely that they will confiscate or examine every single electronic device they might examine yours.
That would be bad luck and one thing that you should do before traveling to the United States, or any other country that is giving their border agents such rights is to protect your data; Or don't visit the country which I prefer to do. The easiest way to protect your data is to leave it at home. If that is not possible because you do need your notebook for work you should prepare it so that the important data is protected and hidden.
I'm not accustomed to US laws and do not know if they can force you to reveal a password for an encrypted partition. But even if they cannot they probably can keep the notebook for a certain time to examine it and probably also question you for a while which would make the trip rather unpleasant.
Your best bet is to use encryption and another encrypted container on that encrypted drive. This way you can cooperate and enter the password: Here Office, take a look, I have no problem with it. The important data would still be encrypted and inaccessible and you would definitely not reveal that password. It's impossible to tell for them anyway if there is another container unless you leave clues on the drive.
You need to make sure that all sensible data, like documents, emails, browser cache, passwords, cookies, pictures, videos, plane flying manuals, Atombombs for Dummies is stored on that second encrypted container.
Important data could be stored on a web server as well and downloaded while in the country. Just make sure it gets erased properly before leaving again. Any other ideas ? Let me know.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.