Laptops Being Searched At Borders

    April 23, 2008

Well it was bound to happen at some point, and has serious ramifications for laptops and other computer devices that are taken across the US border and back again. The Government has the ability to search your computer no matter what as it comes back in across the border. The ruling was passed down this week.

From a security viewpoint, this is going to make for some serious changes in how confidential proprietary knowledge is moved around as workers move around the globe. While this might be a big boost for Google docs, or Zoho, or even a collaborative SharePoint site on the network, the idea of going out of the country with a flat computer, and reformatting it once all your data is uploaded on the network might be the only option you have left.

So much for those travel snaps you wanted to keep, better upload them when you are out of the country. Personal documents, e-mail, all that has to be wiped from the computers before they come back in and stored on any one of a number of shared drive spaces that you can rent, or buy outright. Or use the corporate assets to move all that data around.

At least most hotels have some serious bandwidth you can use to upload all your stuff, once the VPN back to the company has been established. There are probably many corporate lawyers trying to figure out how to protect corporate data, and keep company laptops from being seized or data copied with mission critical or business confidential information on them.