Guardian advice on hiding data from US customs
16th May 2008 | 08:30
"Put it on a memory card and tell them you don't know what's on there"
Is the Guardian encouraging us to smuggle things through US customs? Well, an article by security expert Bruce Schneier certainly is – urging readers to ‘hide all their data’ rather than let them root around in your hard-drive.
In an article entitled ‘Taking your laptop into the US? Be sure to hide all your data first’ Schneier, who writes a popular blog advises people to take extreme measures to hide their data with encryption or even utilising memory cards.
“While customs agents might poke around on your laptop, they're unlikely to find the encrypted partition. (You can make the icon invisible, for some added protection.) And if they download the contents of your hard drive to examine later, you won't care,” advises Schneier.
“If you can't [encrypt], consider putting your sensitive data on a USB drive or even a camera memory card: even 16GB cards are reasonably priced these days. Encrypt it, of course, because it's easy to lose something that small.
"Slip it in your pocket..."
“Slip it in your pocket, and it's likely to remain unnoticed even if the customs agent pokes through your laptop. If someone does discover it, you can try saying: "I don't know what's on there. My boss told me to give it to the head of the New York office." If you've chosen a strong encryption password, you won't care if he confiscates it.”
Whether you agree or not with Schneier’s point about the US (and the UK for that matter) allowing this search, surely hiding data on a memory card to smuggle it through customs either makes it look like you have something to hide, or means you actually do…