PHOTO: Keep your personal information private. (Photo via Flickr/Lea Latumahina)
Just because you are a U.S. citizen does not mean that Customs and Border Protection officers will not or cannot ask to look at what’s on your phone.
But let’s say you had some “what happens in (fill in the blank place), stays in” that place moments…will all of your secrets and private information be revealed if you have to hand over your phone and passwords?
A lot of discussions have taken place regarding securing data on mobile phones and laptops, so how exactly do you do it? The Points Guy breaks it down in a recent article.
First, you should encrypt the data on your phone.
“Encrypting your computer’s hard drive and creating a strong password or pin code for your phone and laptop will make it difficult for customs agents to actually pull information off your devices,” says Brendan Dorsey.
READ MORE: Customs Agents Check IDs of Deplaning Passengers from SFO at JFK
You don’t have to give up your passwords, but it’s probably not going to be smooth sailing if you decline. You could be detained for hours, notes Dorsey or worse, your devices could be shipped off to forensics.
If you’re really worried, Dorsey recommends having someone on your side.
“Before going through customs, it’s advised that you let a lawyer or a loved one know that you are about to re-enter the country, as you might not be able to contact anyone if you are detained,” he says.
For more information on getting through customs without giving up your privacy, read on here.