December 20, 2011
Protect Yourself from Intrusive Laptop and Phone Searches at the U.S. Border
EFF's New Guide Helps Travelers Defend Their Data Privacy
San Francisco - Anytime you travel internationally, you risk a broad, invasive search of your laptop, phone, and other digital devices - including the copying of your data and seizing of your property for an indefinite time. To help travelers protect themselves and their private information during the busy holiday travel period, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a new report today with important guidance for safeguarding your personal data at the U.S border.
Thanks to protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the government generally can't snoop through your laptop for no reason. But the federal government claims those privacy protections don't cover travelers at the U.S. border, allowing agents to take an electronic device, search through all the files, and keep it for further scrutiny - without any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever. For business travelers, that could expose sensitive information like trade secrets, doctor-patient and attorney-client communications, and research and business strategies. For others, the data at risk includes personal health histories, financial records, and private messages and photos of family and friends. EFF's new report, "Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices," outlines potential ways to protect that private information, including minimizing the data you carry with you and employing encryption.
For Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices:
The EFF guide for travelers is at:
To take the border privacy quiz: