With the recent divulgence of certain records by a very popular VPN provider to certain government agencies, it has become painfully apparent that not all VPN providers see anonymity and privacy in the same way. And, for many of us, reading through the legalese that is the “Terms of Service” is confusing and will leave the reader with a head-ache that most medications couldn’t get rid of. Continue reading
In the first part of this article, “US Border Checkpoint Quick Guide For Traveling Abroad With Digital Devices – What To Consider” I discussed what to consider if you need to travel with your digital devices…citizenship status, schedule, etc. and if you are here, you have found that it could be necessary to have your more sensitive and private data with you during your travels, but want to protect it from theft and intrusion. Here, I’ll give you an idea of one of the best methods of doing just this, but again I caution: This guide is not meant to instruct those attempting to get illegal material past the US border, but to help the traveler pass through the US border checkpoints with a little hassle from agents as possible…
There are many online privacy advocates like UsenetReviewz, the EFF,VPNReviewz, and BackupReviewz, that assert that traveling with unused, or blank, devices, and while many find the idea appealing, aren’t sure of how to go about doing it. Here’s a few of the better methods of doing just this…
In The Clouds
BackupReviewz.com lists a lot of services that can keep your data safe from those pesky prying eyes. But with this method, you will need to weigh the amount of data you will need to access against the level of internet access that you will be able to get. If you will have to be using dial-up internet, and a lot of data to get to, then you may want to consider one of the other methods.
UsenetReviewz.com recommends encrypted USB storage that can be transported with your luggage, or separately from your person. Remember, if your device, and the USB device are both present when the agent starts inspecting the device, then you may be asked to open the device so the agent can inspect the contents. UsenetReviewz also advocates the use of USB devices that will “self-destruct” when tampered with, and if this is the case, keep a backup copy just in case.
This is perhaps the best method, and a home network that you can access from abroad is fairly easily set up. With this method also, internet access is of the utmost importance. No one wants to have to download GBs of data on a dial-up connection. Using this method only those with the proper identification will be able to access the data, either locally or from afar. VPNReviewz.com is an excellent resource for those wishing to go this route.
Keeping It Simple
These are probably the most commonly used ways of keeping sensitive data secure away from thieves and the occasional government invasion. It all boils down to one simple rule: If there’s nothing to look at, then what can they look for? If there’s nothing to look at, then the inspection at the US, (or any other, for that matter,) border, will go faster, smoother, and with a lot less stress.
Laptops, Tablets, Smart phones, iPads, every digital device that you can think of, is subject to complete search when an person is crossing the US border. And according to the courts, and the concerned agencies, (the DHS, CBP TSA, and ICE) policies, the device can be seized for off-site inspection, copied completely, and invaded legally by their agents. To add insult to injury, the policies on how long the data can be kept, or even how it is used, is convoluted and vague. Keeping sensitive or private data encrypted can add to the suspicion when you are passing through a border checkpoint, and if the agent requests the passwords and decryption keys, and you refuse to hand them over, your day could go south…along with the rest of your trip. Continue reading