12. 12. 2008
Stop prying into people's digital files, Congress tells airport security staff
I tend not to take much tech on vacation (just my luck to get into journalism as free the press trips start to dry up!) so I've never had airport security staff search my cell or go through my laptop for incriminating evidence. I can imagine, though, that it would be a pretty invasive experience - with perhaps doubtful security benefits.
According to Wired, some members of Congress hope to introduce legislation next year which will stop such searches, on the grounds that they could contravene Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable search and seizure - not to mention the knock-on effect for the First Amendment's protection of free speech.
However, the Department of Homeland Security says that searching electronic devices has uncovered terrorist plots, pedophilia and intellectual property infringement.
Whether border patrol procedures make you feel safer or scared, one thing is for sure: if you have embarrassing emails on your hard drive or carry around data of a sensitive nature on your smart phone (maybe you work in R&D for Apple or something) you should delete anything you wouldn't want strangers to see before you leave for the airport.