The Bush administration insists on the right to search and download to keep the contents of any memory device or hard drive taken across a border. That means that the government can now make copies of any laptop hard drive or “thumb drive” crossing the U.S. border.
Travel group warns: Corporate data at risk from laptop searches at border,
Companies need to review their policies to see if such searches will cause privacy problems for them or their customers, she said.
“For example, if you are carrying personnel information on your laptop, there are certain privacy violations that can ensue” if that data is accessed and downloaded as part of a border search, Gurley said. Other kinds of sensitive and proprietary information — including intellectual property — can sometimes be exposed via such searches, she said.
Many companies, especially in Europe, are having compliance officers look at the broader implications of such searches and have begun curtailing the kind of information their executives can carry on their laptops when traveling to the U.S, she said.
You can just imagine that big Republican corporate donors will see an opportunity here to get competitive info. “YCorp’s patent guy is crossing the border at 11. Get us all the data on his hard drive.” And if you and I can imagine it, you can be sure that YCorps’ people are thinking about it, too.
So as a result of this every single corporate employee in the world is going to have to clean up everything on every device that might cross an American border. And this kind of cleanup is not easy. It is cumbersome, inconvenient, expensive, and might not be enough. I can foresee policies requiring installing fresh hard drives before any travel. (This includes Canada and Mexico.
All of a sudden corporate cronyism isn’t looking so good to all those corporate types.