Limitations on what we can be asked when travellng

You may not be aware but there is a separate category on the forum called “staff” where the presenters and moderators can discuss upcoming shows or anything to do with forum admin. As such I was surprised this subject wasn’t discussed in more detail

‘Extreme Vetting’ - we will dig into the recent news about requiring social media and other details when coming into the US, whether we think it makes sense, and what kind of information we think is reasonable and unreasonable to request.

This subject was raised by @gmb in the topic: Travelling paranoidly to or via the US where the debate has concentrated mainly on the technical aspects of how we can protect ourselves.

I’d like to concentrate here on where limits need to be set - in other words the view from a point of politics and liberty, not technical solutions which as @sil pointed out he can not fix in the next few days, even with my help.

This is not a new problem, though the situation in the US has - in my opinion - recently got worse. Travelling to the US as a UK citizen the questions regarding my social media activities are optional but I’m not sure this is the case for several other countries.

I am now cautious of travelling to the US, though I still will be in two weeks time - on business - because my boss has decided it is no-longer safe to send a college of mine who was born in Iraq. My college said he would refuse to go anyway. There are other parts of the world I would refuse to go to.

Clearly there is a balance here, we need to keep as much freedom and liberty as we can while minimising security risks.

So where do we need to draw the line?

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http://financialcryptography.com/mt/archives/001611.html is a good summary of why searching people’s electronic devices, even though it does sound like maybe it ought to be permitted, is actually not a very good idea.

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Exactly. I never understand how security theatre gets any traction. You’re either reacting to an incident, in which case all you’re doing is stopping more of that specific thing happening, and meanwhile the threat actors have moved onto the next thing, or you’re reacting to a specific threat, in which case you’ve alerted the threat actors that that specific thing won’t work, and meanwhile they’ve moved onto the next thing.

And to be honest, if you’re stupid enough to leave actionable intel on a device you’re carrying through a customs border, you’re probably stupid enough to tick “yes” for the question “have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities” on the I-94W VWP entry form. Which just won’t happen.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.