I cross a lot of borders, and I have been worried at times about losing my electronic devices. There hasn’t even been an issue, but then again, I don’t really have anything of value other than the hardware. The bits themselves are fairly replaceable for me as I ensure I keep things backed up in multiple ways.
However, I wonder if this will start to become a new type of data breach. Will officials of governments be required to relinquish their devices when proceeding through customs? Will this happen to corporate employees? Something like this happened and it was unclear if this was an action on the part of the Department of Homeland Security in relation to an investigation. However, could this start to become a standard practice as a way for governments to spy on other governments or even corporations?
This definitely sounds like a movie plot more than something that occurs in real life I would guess this is what we’ll find to be true here. It’s also not likely to be that effective if it does become a standard practice. If devices were being confiscated and checked at any scale, I’m sure we’d all be looking to travel with blank laptops that only had a VPN connection. Once we crossed a border, we could easily access information and download it as needed, deleting it before we recross the border.
However carrying information on a mobile device is always a bit risky. You could lose a device by accident or theft, and anything you had on the hardware could be exposed to others. For most of us, it’s not a problem, but since some of us carry around database backups or developemnt data, we should be sure that we aren’t carrying sensitive information. There’s really no excuse to do so, no matter what your deadline. Use masked sets of test data that you don’t mind losing, and you won’t have an issue.