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EFF: Privacy Guide for crossing the US border with devices

Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud

It’s a sign of the times: The EFF has published a guide that explains how to protect your data from the government (here: the US government, but in principle in applies to any government) when crossing a border.

Although details vary according to the risk assessment guidelines given, the gist of it is always the same:

  • Take a minimum amount of devices. If necessary, take freshly setup devices. Encrypt content. Turn the device completely off when crossing the border. Secure your online accounts with 2FA. Consider not taking the second factor with you.
  • At the border, be polite and comply with orders as far as necessary and legally required. If you are not a citizen, you need to assess your need to travel vs. the amount of data you can or are willing to give up, if push comes to shove.
  • After the trip, if the device was taken out of your sight or electronically manipulated, don’t use it any more. If you can’t do that, completely reset and reinstall it before use.
Published inHackerterrorcybercyber

One Comment

  1. I think your summary is inaccurate, or at least it applies to U.S. citizens only (because they, at least, have a legal right to enter their own country). For everyone else, the accurate summary is “unless you are prepared to give up any notion of privacy versus the U.S. government, do not travel to the U.S.”.

    Besides, as the EFF document outlines (though the exec summary does not), if you’re forced to give up your social media credentials, then all security precautions about devices are moot.

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