Travel checklist: clean undies, clean laptop

There’s been some, but sporadic, media coverage about the risk of traveling into the U.S. and having immigration and customs agents seize your computer laptop and download the information. It’s a result of 9/11 and was designed to allow the U.S.’ Homeland Security to search and seize terrorist information.

As unlikely as it sounds, it has happened, and is expected to escalate as the U.S. has adopted guidelines that allow even less suspicion to search any and all electronic devices and download them.

Besides the implications on personal data (uh-oh, don’t want that floating around…), there are business-related ones involving your company’s or your customer’s proprietary, confidential information stored on laptops and other devices. Many companies are now providing “blank” laptops for staff to travel with, already wiped clean of information. Business travelers then use web-based e-mail applications, so no e-mails or other data sits on the laptop.

There are ways to minimize the risk and prevent prying eyes from seeing stuff that could damage the integrity of your data, your firm or your customers and suppliers. Take advantage of them.

And from the “hey, get your own black kettle” file comes word that the U.S. government this week issued warnings to Olympic athletes and travellers flying into China about their electronic devices being compromised or seized by Chinese authorities.



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