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They Can Keep Your Devices at the Border If You Won’t Provide Your Password

They Can Keep Your Devices at the Border If You Won’t Provide Your Password
Meg Butler

The US Department of Homeland Security just released a new policy on border searches of electronic devices.

This new policy asserts that  “travelers are obligated to present electronic devices and the information contained therein in a condition that allows inspection of the device and its contents.”

If you do not provide your password on your laptop, cell phone or storage device or if they cannot fully inspect what is on the laptop, they can confiscate your device.


For more on this story, go to Papers, Please.


[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

View Comments (2)


  1. VaguelyAsian

    January 16, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    This is the real deal and not just here in the states. A New Zealand customs agent interrogated me and insisted on my phone password AND access to my apps and locked storage. If I denied them, the agent said I would be sent on the next flight back to the US!

  2. jonsg

    January 20, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Point being, if you hand over your device switched on and unlocked, they can use it to access anything in your contacts list, your email, your text messages, and any apps you have…like Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on. They can store your authentication tokens so that they have continuing access to these things out of your sight.

    And that’s what they want. So they’re taking this bullying approach: if you don’t unlock it, we’ll steal it from you permanently. (And then, presumably, subject it to digital forensics to obtain all the same stuff.)

    So the only sensible thing, really, is to wipe your phone before flying (or bring one you use only for flying), and take a /tabula rasa/ laptop-like device such as a new Chromebook for computing needs.

    It’s truly pathetic that it’s come to this. It’s just theatre. Any terrorist isn’t going to come across the border carrying sensitive materials! So this just victimises and oppresses the honest, for the sake of appearances.

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