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Know Your Privacy Rights At The Border [Infographic]

With the rise of terrorism and other law-breaking (eg, human trafficking), there has been a great increase in border checks — and the power that governments exercise at their borders. This has resulted in law-abiding citizens seeing their privacy rights erode.

What was once a simple validation of a passport and quick look at the passport photo, can now be a biometric scan — or a scan of a data chip embedded in your passport.

Today, border security in many countries can access your digital devices and intrude on your social media space. This is a power that is being exercised with increasing frequency, and not always in full respect of the travelers’ rights. So if you like to travel, get to know just what those border rights are.

Border Agent Powers

In the infographic below, we look at the powers that border security has in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Security agents in each country can legally request access to your digital devices when you cross the border. US agents can request access anywhere within 100 miles of the border. Agents in the UK and Australia do not even need to have a reasonable level of suspicion to request access; so you could easily be subjected to a spot check.

The biggest concern is that the data on your devices can be inspected. You may be required to provide the password to unlock your device — and to provide access to all your social media accounts. Just refusing could get your device confiscated.

Security Concerns

While access to your personal life is intrusive and distasteful, for some, the bigger concern is whether their data is secure after the government downloads it. Government agencies are not immune from data hacks. This is a particularly problematic issue for business travelers.

Businesses are often party to confidentiality, non-disclosure, and other similar secrecy agreements. If you are traveling for work, would a security download of your data expose you to a breach of said agreement? Should you leave your business devices at home? The answers to questions like these are never simple.

Don’t Expose Yourself

The easiest solution to this problem is to leave your devices at home. But this is not always possible and certainly undesirable.

If you are a frequent traveler, you could consider purchasing a cheap device and set it up specifically for travel purposes. Only store data on it that you would not worry about, should it be downloaded. Don’t link it to your personal accounts. And use incognito windows for your work.

If you do take a device that contains sensitive information, make sure you know your rights before you enter the country. This infographic will provide you with the most important information for those traveling between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Read it before your next trip!
Know Your Privacy Rights At The Border

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