How to Protect Your Privacy at US Borders

I don’t know about you, but a lot of my life, my real life, is on my laptop. Family photos, my writing, blog stuff, social media backups, contacts, etc etc. Oh, you as well? I’m not surprised. The banking and tax stuff, passwords are all under strong encryption. If I had the time and inclination I’d simply TrueCrypt the whole hard drive, but my encryptor is much more subtle and works on a per file or per folder basis, which saves decrypting non-sensitive stuff.

So, it’s important to keep it safe. Thanks to protections enshrined in the glorious US Constitution, the US government generally cannot snoop through your laptop or other gadget for no reason if you’re already in the US. But those privacy protections apparently do not apply if you are crossing an international border into the US. The government can take any of your electronic devices, search through all the files, and keep it for a short period for further scrutiny – even if they have no reason to be suspicious of your, your character or your laptop.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a neat guide on how to protect your privacy when entering the US way back in December 2011: Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices.

This article has been reproduced from Sciencetext technology website. Copyright David Bradley.

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About David Bradley Science Writer

David Bradley has worked in science communication for more than twenty years. After reading chemistry at university, he worked and travelled in the USA, did a stint in a QA/QC lab and then took on a role as a technical editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry. Then, following an extended trip to Australia, he returned and began contributing as a freelance to the likes of New Scientist and various trade magazines. He has been growing his portfolio and and has constructed the Sciencebase Science News and the Sciencetext technology website. He also runs the SciScoop Science Forum which is open to guest contributors on scientific topics.
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