Your smart-phone can be used to trap you

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Digitial Economy

It is no longer safe to take your phone and laptop abroad

NASA scientist Sidd Bikkannavar

When US customs and border control detained a NASA scientist returning from a trip to Chile last month and demanded his phone password, people concerned about rights and invasion of privacy sat up and took notice.

Think abour all the apps you have on your phone – Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, maybe, Tinder, your online shopping history and some intimate photos too. Maybe you posted something nasty about your destination country once. The customs people will not be sympathetic to your pleas of privacy. if you are singled out for scrutiny, they will transfer all your information to their computer in a few minutes.

Would you want that? In his viral post on Medium – I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again, Neither should you – Free Code Camp founder Quincy Larson explains why you are better off travelling abroad without your phone and laptop: “You can’t hand over a device that you don’t have.”

What’s the worst thing that could happen if customs succeed in getting hold of your unlocked phone? “Think of all the people you’ve ever called or emailed, and all the people you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn. What are the chances that one of them has committed a serious crime, or will do so in the future?”

“Have you ever taken a photo at a protest, bought a controversial book on Amazon, or vented about an encounter with a police officer to a loved one? That information is now part of your permanent record, and could be dragged out as evidence against you if you ever end up in court.”

Larson warns the US it not the only country to do this. “It is only a matter of time before downloading the contents of people’s phones become a standard procedure for entering every country. This already happens in Canada… Over time, this unparalleled intrusion into your personal privacy may come to feel as routine as taking off your shoes and putting them on a conveyor belt.”

If you absolutely have to carry your smart-phone with you, Larson’s advice is to save your data in the cloud and reset the device to factory settings before boarding an international flight. “This process will also delete the keys necessary to unencrypt any residual data on your phone.” You can reinstall the apps in the destination country, and repeat the procedure before returning.

– from The Times of India

Series Navigation<< eWallet or digital robberyAll your data belong to private business! >>

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