Sunday, 19 February 2017

Why you should never take your phone out of the country

Credit: David Handschuh/New York Daily News)/Maha Ahmed/Twitter

Linked below is an article about your undefined status at international borders. Included is a story about a US born scientist, returning to the United States, effectively imprisoned by US Customs, until he agreed to unlock his phone & allow customs agents to take it away for inspection. This despite the fact that he informed them that the phone belonged to NASA & contained sensitive information.

Welcome home!

Given the circumstances above, how secure are the contents of your phone at international boundaries?

Actually, there is a way around this, but it is far from convenient – the data on your phone is probably backed up in the cloud – do a factory reset before customs, & then reload everything on the other side.

I did warn you it wouldn’t be convenient :(

Both Android & iPhones back up data to the cloud by default. If yours isn’t doing this, set it up now!

Make sure you encrypt your phone, & that you have a strong password, for everyday use, but, as described above, wipe it before crossing international borders.

freeCodeCamp – “I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you.”

freeCodeCamp – “How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour”

Many people don't want to use a password on their phone because it is inconvenient to type it in, every time they want to check an SMS. On Android phones it is quite easy to have it unlocked under a range of circumstances, including while connected to your home WiFi network, Bluetooth in your car, fitness tracker, or other device, but lock when the connection is lost. Read how to do it at:

HitchHiker's Guide 2 Tech – “Android password-level security without having to type the damn thing it in all the time!”

And your music? You may regard your music as a must on a long international flight. But it is probably many megabytes of data. Reloading this after customs may be even less practical than your other data. If your phone accepts a microSD card, store your media there, & remove it before erasing you phone. If your phone doesn't accept a microSD, there are other external storage options for Android & iOS, such as SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone & iPad. Alternatively, you could store your media on an mp3 player.

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone & iPad
Credit: SanDisk

MacRumors – “Review: SanDisk's New Lightning/USB 3.0 iXpand Flash Drive Offers Easy Transfers & Backups in a Slim Package”

Thanks to John for some of the links above.
/ how to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour Android password-level security without having to type the damn thing it in all the time review SanDisk new Lightning USB 3.0 iXpand Flash Drive easy transfers backups in I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again neither should you US Customs Border Patrol agent airport how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour security save you physical possession your phone laptop intimidate giving up your password what happened to a US citizen returning home from abroad Sidd Bikkannavar US-born scientist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew back to Houston Texas airport Customs and Border Patrol agents searched him detained release him password unlock his phone Bikkannavar phone belonged to NASA sensitive information he eventually yielded unlocked his phone legality 30 minutes phone unlocked outside of his possession apps you have on your phone email Facebook Dropbox browser Signal history of everything you’ve ever done searched everything you’ve ever said to anyone right there in those apps we should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium  dangerous long-lasting leaked no getting it back  Cory Doctorow how many potentially incriminating things police go before a judge establish probable cause warrant to search your home anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs forced hand over the full contents of their digital life Elcomsoft forensic software suck down all your photos contacts passwords email social media accounts  customers include police forces various countries militaries private security forces tools permanently archive everything there your unlocked phone If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man I would find something in them to have him hanged Cardinal Richelieu in 1641 Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting ahold of your unlocked phone all of the people you’ve ever called emailed all the people you’re connected with on Facebook LinkedIn chances committed a serious crime have you ever taken a photo at a protest bought a controversial book Amazon vented about an encounter with a police officer information now part of your permanent record dragged out as evidence against you in court movement within government make all data from all departments available all staff at a local state federal level more places your data ends up larger hacker attack surface more vulnerable your data security breach police station result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers used against you from the shadows for the rest of your life fourth and fifth amendment rights illegal fourth amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure fifth amendment protects you against self-incrimination police officer stop you on the street America ask you to unlock your phone amendments strong legal ground refusing to do so US border isn’t technically the US next time you plan to cross a border leave your phone at home /