The U.S. government reported a five-fold increase in the number of electronic media searches at the border in a single year, from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016. Every one of those searches was a potential privacy violation.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced a new (free) document for those of us who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices. Quoting from the EFF website:
“Increasingly frequent and invasive searches at the U.S. border have raised questions for those of us who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices. A new guide released today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.
“Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border” helps everyone do a risk assessment, evaluating personal factors like immigration status, travel history, and the sensitivity of the data you are carrying. Depending on which devices come with you on your trip, your gadgets can include information like your client files for work, your political leanings and those of your friends, and even your tax return. Assessing your risk factors helps you choose a path to proactively protect yourself, which might mean leaving some devices at home, moving some information off of your devices and into the cloud, and using encryption. EFF’s guide also explains why some protections, like fingerprint locking of a phone, are less secure than other methods.”
You can read more and even download the new document at: https://www.eff.org/press/releases/digital-privacy-us-border-new-how-guide-eff