Feds Seizing Laptops at U.S. Customs?
The Reason Foundation has an article by Steven Titch which highlights the increasing likelihood that, upon your return from travel abroad, a U.S. Customs Agent may ask to see your laptop or cell phone in order to inspect and copy the contents, including all business and personal information. You can read the article here.
According to the article, U.S. Customs and Border Protection are equating laptops and cell phones to suitcases (which they are allowed to search). I will not go into the very serious issues these kind of inspections raise–the article does an excellent job. However, I do believe it is important, from a trade secrets standpoint, to be aware of these practices so that we don’t put confidential information at risk.
Key graph: “The searches are becoming common enough that, according to the Washington Post, a number of companies are advising employees who travel internationally to wipe their hard drives before leaving the country in order to prevent disclosure of proprietary or highly secure information.” Very scary.