You may have seen this piece of advice, which still pops up once in a while in my social media feeds, though it first appeared in mid-November 2016:
Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them.I haven't made a list, but I think about it.
Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them.
Here's a perfect example of one of those things I would never do or believe until now, from the Weekly Sift:
Quincy Larson at Free Code Camp explains why you should avoid leaving the country with your smartphone or laptop: Border control officials can refuse to let you into a country unless you give up the password to your devices, at which point they’re free to vacuum up all your personal data. The U.S. might do it to a U.S. citizen before letting them come back.If you had told me in October 2016 I would seriously consider leaving all devices at home when I leave the country, I would have thought you were crazy.
That’s already started happening.
On January 30th, Sidd Bikkannavar, a U.S.-born scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew back to Houston, Texas, from Santiago, Chile.Larson has recommendations:
On his way through through the airport, Customs and Border Patrol agents pulled him aside. They searched him, then detained him in a room with a bunch of other people sleeping in cots. They eventually returned and said they’d release him if he told them the password to unlock his phone.
Bikkannavar explained that the phone belonged to NASA and had sensitive information on it, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He eventually yielded and unlocked his phone. The agents left with his phone. Half an hour later, they returned, handed him his phone, and released him.
When you travel internationally, you should leave your mobile phone and laptop at home. You can rent phones at most international airports that include data plans.Of course, you might say to yourself: “I don’t need to take those kinds of precautions, because nothing about me should make border agents suspicious. I’m white, Christian, native-born, and look just like a normal American.” Bookmark that thought, and retrieve it the next time you feel offended because somebody has called you “privileged.”
If you have family overseas, you can buy a second phone and laptop and leave them there at their home.
If you’re an employer, you can create a policy that your employees are not to bring devices with them during international travel. You can then issue them “loaner” laptops and phones once they enter the country.
That's how things work in Turmp's America. Because freedom!
Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune