HOWTO keep your data safe at the US border


18 Responses to “HOWTO keep your data safe at the US border”

  1. theophrastvs says:

    and woe-unto-you if the (underpaid so overcompensating via bullying) goons discover a copy of  EFF-border-search-.pdf on your hard-drive

  2. Anyone know of a good rundown on SSD forensics?

  3. PhosPhorious says:

    the law, good technology choices, cryptography and backups can be combined to keep your data safe while you travel, especially when crossing into the USA

    As an American, reading that makes me sick to my stomach.

  4. awjt says:

    Careful what you put in the cloud.  
    Careful what you keep under your shroud.

  5. Perch von Radical says:

    Them: “Your computer will not boot! Your hard-drive is nothing but random bits! Your keyboard makes no sense!*”

    Me: “Hm.”

    *I use Dvorak

  6. ialreadyexist says:

    TrueCrypt.  Make a hidden encrypted volume.  No one will find it unless they’re specifically looking for it.  And, even then, it will be encrypted.

    • proginoskes says:

      Be careful with the idea of hidden volumes. As the pamphlet says, lying to CBP is very illegal. If they ask you “is that all there is?” and you refuse to answer, you are now behaving very suspiciously. If you lie and say there is nothing more to see, this is virtually impossible to keep up forever, if lawyers, judges, better forensic techniques and external evidence get involved. Once your lie is found out, you’re in deep shit.

      Encrypt your whole disk with simple full disk encryption, and decide ahead of time whether to turn over your passphrase for a search or refuse and face “temporary” detention and more questioning. … Or don’t bring data with you.

      • awjt says:

        That’s bogus.  If anyone asks a vague “Is that all there is?”  There are a million ways to dodge that question and not appear like a suspicious ass.  Just say, “Yes, just the thumb drive.”  or “Yes, that’s all I brought.”  Make THEM be specific.  You’re not lying.  You’re giving true answers.

  7. angusm says:

    If I were Jacob Appelbaum or someone else who is routinely subjected to search-and-seizure at the border, I’d prepare a ‘special’ phone with a contacts list that contained only phone numbers belonging to members of Congress, senior TSA officials, etc. Should be good for some lulz. 

  8. querent says:

    Long live the EFF.  As long as they are as they are, they will get my monetary support.

  9. bardfinn says:

    Use good, one-time-pad encryption, such as TrueCrypt, and


    Even if you use a theoretically-hard encryption, there may be a flaw in the implementation.

  10. jimkirk says:

    There’s a typo in the pdf of the article.  On page 13 it says “EEF built a crypto-cracking machine that could try 2^256 possibilities in under three days.”

    It should be 2^56; the article on the web page is correct.

    That is all.

  11. SoItBegins says:

    I’m more worried about spyware being installed on the hypothetical border-crossing computer (by border patrol, etc) w/o permission…

  12. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if a researcher had quarantined something very malicious on a flash drive that was seized.  I am sure the protests of “You really don’t want to do that” would get that sucker loaded every faster…

  13. strider says:

    One more step towards a totally martial law state. Next you’ll be asking when you can take a crap and where you have to do it lol.

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