Enough04 Aug 2008
U.S. Government has made a decision. They have decided that it is OK to to seize your laptop for whatever reason, without any suspicion, for however long and to share the information stored there with anyone. This adds up to a pretty long list of nuisances for travellers. But this is the last drop.
I have made my decision. I have decided that I will not use my U.S. Visa for quite a long time. Imagine this: I would suffer a lot of discomfort to get across the ocean, willing to spend a week or so on a series of dawn-to-dusk business meetings, workshops and brainstorming sessions. And my primary tool for being effective would be seized at the borders. Bummer! All my effectively will be lost. I can buy a new laptop on the spot (and get a deal on that, USD is no longer what it used to be). But I will need to restore all the data, customize the environment, etc. I value my time high enough to risk that.
And more that that ... I may happen to carry confidential information in my laptop. Even if that information would be encrypted, can it be considered safe if seized by one of the most powerful organizations in the world? May the agent force me to submit a passphrase? Would I be held responsible for information disclosure if I submit the laptop with proprietary data to U.S.Government? I'm not sure. But I know that I'm not going to risk it.
Dear business partners in the Valley, please do not count on me flying over anytime soon.