How to protect your personal data from U.S. border officers

Businesspeople and journalists have long been paranoid about protecting their personal data when visiting countries like China and Russia. But now travelers to the U.S. are reporting increasingly invasive behavior by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

USA (Next Media) – Businesspeople and journalists have long been paranoid about protecting their personal data when visiting countries like China and Russia. But now travelers to the U.S. are reporting increasingly invasive behavior by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

In one recently publicized case, a Canadian man missed his flight to the U.S. after a Customs and Border Patrol officer used his passwords to access profiles on a gay hookup app and website and assumed he was a sex worker, the Daily Xtra reported.

According to the Center for Democracy & Technology, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering a requirement to inspect the “online presence” and social media use of a visitor passing through a border checkpoint.

These are suggestions from Wired magazine for those traveling to the U.S. who would like to keep their privacy — and dignity — intact at the border.

“To secure your data at the U.S. border, notify a loved one or your attorney before passing through a checkpoint, and again after you have passed through. If you are detained and have your devices confiscated, you may not be able to alert anyone.”

“Turn off your device’s fingerprint unlocking function, as visitors such as Green Card holders may be required to provide fingerprints.”

“Encrypt your devices with a strong password and use a strong PIN.”

“And turn all devices off, because some encryption tools only work properly if a device has been powered down.”

“Prepare a spare phone and laptop computer that you only use when you travel.”

“Link these devices to secondary accounts — with their own unique usernames and passwords — that you only use for travel. Do not link them to your main accounts.”

“Wipe your devices before you leave home and delete any sensitive apps.”

“For extra protection, make sure that even you cannot access your device while passing through U.S. border control.”

“Set up two-factor authentication on your device, but keep your SIM card at home, destroy it or mail it to your destination.”

“That way, even if you’re forced to divulge your PIN, you won’t be able to unlock your device.”

“One caveat: Taking any of the above measures may arouse suspicion and lead to a longer detention or denial of entry if you are not a citizen.”

Source: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/guide-getting-past-customs-digital-privacy-intact/