As if going across the border wasn’t stressful enough, this week in a U.S. Senate hearing, a new policy allows customs agents to examine the cellphones of travellers at the border. Say What??
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen explained some of what the new policy does and doesn’t do. Here’s a few of them.
—Your passcode: Agents can demand a passcode to open your phone without probable cause, Nielsen confirmed during the hearing.
—The cloud: Here, there are new limits. Agents can’t just start downloading old files from the cloud: “They can search the data that is apparent on the phone,” Nielsen said. “They can’t use the phone to access anything that might be stored remotely.”
—Airplane mode: Officers are supposed to ask travellers to shut off their signal. That’s to ensure remote files don’t get downloaded accidentally. If warranted by security concerns, the Jan. 4 directive says officers can themselves perform the task of shutting off connectivity.
—Advanced search: An officer may judge it necessary for national security purposes, such as cases where the traveller is on a watch list, to connect a phone to a hard drive, to copy its contents for analysis. The directive says this requires the approval of a certain rank of supervisor.
—Detention: If they can’t access a device, officers can detain it for a multi-day period. Detentions beyond five days must be approved by management. To detain a device, officers must fill out a form.
To get more details on how it effects your travel plans… Click HERE