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Never Fly Internationally with Your Personal Phone

I always fly internationally with a burner phone, no need to risk my personal data when I can’t even use my phone anyway.

Here is a scary story in Trump’s America.

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I always fly internationally with a burner phone, no need to risk my personal data when I can’t even use my phone anyway.

Here is a scary story in Trump’s America.

On January 30th, Sidd Bikkannavar, a US-born scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew back to Houston, Texas from Santiago, Chile.

On his way through the airport, Customs and Border Patrol agents pulled him aside. They searched him, then detained him in a room with a bunch of other people sleeping in cots. They eventually returned and said they’d release him if he told them the password to unlock his phone.

Bikkannavar explained that the phone belonged to NASA and had sensitive information on it, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He eventually yielded and unlocked his phone. The agents left with his phone. Half an hour later, they returned, handed him his phone, and released him.

We’re going to discuss the legality of all of this, and what likely happened during that 30 minutes where Bikkannavar’s phone was unlocked and outside of his possession.

 

But before we do, take a moment to think about all the apps you have on your phone. Email? Facebook? Dropbox? Your browser? Signal? The history of everything you’ve ever done — everything you’ve ever searched, and everything you’ve ever said to anyone — is right there in those apps.

“We should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutoniumit is dangerous, long-lasting and once it has leaked there’s no getting it back.”Cory Doctorow

How many potentially incriminating things do you have lying around your home? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably zero. And yet police would need to go before a judge and establish probable cause before they could get a warrant to search your home.

What we’re seeing now is that anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs and forced to hand over the full contents of their digital life.

Companies like Elcomsoft make “forensic software” that can suck down all your photos, contacts — even passwords for your email and social media accounts — in a matter of minutes. Their customers include the police forces of various countries, militaries, and private security forces. They can use these tools to permanently archive everything there is to know about you. All they need is your unlocked phone.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” — Cardinal Richelieu in 1641

What’s the worst thing that could happen if the Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting a hold of your unlocked phone? Well…

  • Think of all of the people you’ve ever called or emailed, and all the people you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn. What are the chances that one of them has committed a serious crime, or will do so in the future?
  • Have you ever taken a photo at a protest, bought a controversial book on Amazon, or vented about an encounter with a police officer to a loved one? That information is now part of your permanent record, and could be dragged out as evidence against you if you ever end up in court.
  • There’s a movement within government to make all data from all departments available to all staff at a local, state, and federal level. The more places your data ends up, the larger a hacker’s “attack surface” is — that is, the more vulnerable your data is. A security breach in a single police station in the middle of nowhere could result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers — and potentially used against you from the shadows — for the rest of your life.

Wait a second. What about my fourth and fifth-amendment rights? Isn’t this illegal?

The fourth-amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure. The fifth-amendment protects you against self-incrimination.

If a police officer were to stop you on the street of America and ask you to unlock your phone and give it to them, these amendments would give you strong legal ground for refusing to do so.

But unfortunately, the US border isn’t technically the US, and you don’t have either of these rights at the border.

It’s totally legal for a US Customs and Border Patrol officer to ask you to unlock your phone and hand it over to them. And they can detain you indefinitely if you don’t. Even if you’re an American citizen.

The border is technically outside of US jurisdiction, in a sort of legal no-man’s-land. You have very few rights there. Barring the use of “excessive force,” agents can do whatever they want to you.

So my advice is to just do whatever they tell you, to and get through customs and on into the US as quickly as you can.

The US isn’t the only country that does this.

It’s only a matter of time before downloading the contents of people’s phones becomes a standard procedure for entering every country. This already happens in Canada. And you can bet that countries like China and Russia aren’t far behind.

“Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow morning’s front-page headline in the New York Times.”Colonel David Russell, former head of DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office

Since it’s illegal in most countries to profile individual travelers, customs officers will soon require everyone to do this.

The companies who make the software that downloads data from your phones are about to get a huge infusion of money from governments. Their software will get much faster — maybe requiring only a few seconds to download all of your most pertinent data from your phone.

If we do nothing to resist, pretty soon everyone will have to unlock their phone and hand it over to a customs agent while they’re getting their passport swiped.

Over time, this unparalleled intrusion into your personal privacy may come to feel as routine as taking off your shoes and putting them on a conveyer belt.

And with this single new procedure, all the hard work that Apple and Google have invested in encrypting the data on your phone — and fighting for your privacy in court — will be a completely moot point.

Governments will have succeeded in utterly circumventing decades of innovation in security and privacy protection. All by demanding you hand them the skeleton key to your life — your unlocked phone.

You can’t hand over a device that you don’t have.

When you travel internationally, you should leave your mobile phone and laptop at home. You can rent phones at most international airports that include data plans.

If you have family overseas, you can buy a second phone and laptop and leave them there at their home.

If you’re an employer, you can create a policy that your employees are not to bring devices with them during international travel. You can then issue them “loaner” laptops and phones once they enter the country.

Since most of our private data is stored in the cloud — and not on individual devices — you could also reset your phone to its factory settings before boarding an international flight. This process will also delete the keys necessary to unencrypt any residual data on your phone (iOS and Android fully encrypt your data).

This way, you could bring your physical phone with you, then reinstall apps and re-authenticate with them once you’ve arrived. If you’re asked to hand over your unlocked phone at the border, there won’t be any personal data on it. All your data will be safe behind the world-class security that Facebook, Google, Apple, Signal, and all these other companies use.

Is all this inconvenient? Absolutely. But it’s the only sane course of action when you consider the gravity of your data falling into the wrong hands.

If you bother locking your doors at night, you should bother securing your phone’s data during international travel.

This may upset Customs and Border Patrol agents, who are probably smart enough to realize that 85% of Americans now have smart phones, and probably 100% of the Americans who travel internationally have smart phones. They may choose to detain you anyway, and force you to give them passwords to various accounts manually. But there’s no easy way for them to know which services you use and which services you don’t use, or whether you have multiple accounts.

We live in an era of mass surveillance, where governments around the world are passing terrifying new anti-privacy laws every year.

“Those who are willing to surrender their freedom for security have always demanded that if they give up their full freedom it should also be taken from those not prepared to do so.”Friedrich Hayek

With a lot of hard work on our part, enlightenment will triumph. Privacy will be restored. And we will beat back the current climate of fear that’s confusing people into unnecessarily giving up their rights.

In the meantime, follow the Boy Scouts of America Motto: always be prepared. The next time you plan to cross a border, leave your phone at home.

Thank you for taking the time to reading this. If you liked this, click the below so other people will see this here on Medium.

 

 

Photos courtesy of OneIndia, USCustoms, youtube, travelskills, guardian, personal, laptopmag

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Adventure Travel: Push the Limits of your Vacation

  A new year and a new you, time to push your limits like never before. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in immediate danger but I am saying you should test your boundaries. Let yourself live and maybe you will improve your regular self. Exploration and self discovery rarely are found in a […]

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A new year and a new you, time to push your limits like never before. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in immediate danger but I am saying you should test your boundaries. Let yourself live and maybe you will improve your regular self. Exploration and self discovery rarely are found in a pool or a bar stool, you’ll need to walk a few steps outside your norm to find what you didn’t know you were looking for.  Go on an epic adventure and see what life is really about.

http://www.deopulence.com/

Exotic Transportation

Instead of renting a car, try a motorcycle or scooter on for size. This small adjustment to your normal itinerary can completely change your vacation. Let the wind rush through your hair and grab onto those handlebars tight as you vroom through the streets. Can you feel the power between your legs? Have you lived like this in a long while?

A small adjustment to the standard vacation can really turn things upside down. Side note: don’t rent a motorcycle if you have never ridden one before, maybe start with the smaller engine on the scooter. You can still feel the rush without seeing the inside of the local hospital.

Why walk when you can get pulled in a tuk-tuk, a rickshaw or by some local bovine. When I’m in NYC I always take a hansom cab ride around Central Park, this may not be too exotic for most but to me it’s fantastic. A hansom cab is a horse drawn carriage that tours you around Central Park. I’ll always remember the time my wife and I first visited New York and we took our first hansom cab ride. A cold February night had us in a romantic mood, so we hailed a hansom cab and got all cozy under the blankets. Our driver gave us a wonderful tour and we still talk today about that night.

Step Outside your Resort Walls

How about instead of sitting around by the pool, you venture outside the all-inclusive resort. Take a stroll through the town, or maybe a jungle hike. Get the blood flowing and your heart beating. Take in the clean air and beautiful surroundings. When I travel, I usually bring my hiking boots because I look for adventure at every turn and couldn’t imagine just sitting around a pool all day. Although, I have had some of my best vacations just sitting round a pool, but that’s another article altogether.

goabroad.com

Look for Adventure

Every vacation destination has brochures and pamphlets advertising their local attractions, these are great places to start. I usually tend to ask locals for advice or do some previous research on fun activities. But, you would be surprised at some of the awesome adventures that await just around the corner. Zip lines, waterfalls, ancient ruins and guided tours are just the start. Some of these tourist attractions are just traps and ways to suck money from the weary traveler. That’s why I do the added legwork and some light planning to find my true adventure.

STATravel.com

Travel for Adventure

Ditch the all-inclusive resorts and head out for adventure completely. Instead of sitting by the pool, try snorkeling in the ocean or white water rafting down a rushing river. Adventure awaits you at any experience level so don’t let your greenness deter you from an adventure. If you search hard enough, you can find a journey for every expertise level. My kayaking skills are lacking but that won’t stop me from trying. All I know for sure is I won’t get better at kayaking by not kayaking. Grab life by the proverbial balls and live it.

http://www.aitkenspenceholidays.lk/

Extreme Dream

This is not for everyone, but can be for some. Skydive, cliff jump or bungee jump, to start your vacation. Obviously do it with caution and only after you have done some proper research, but hell man, live it up. There is nothing like a little adrenaline rush to get that blood pumping through your veins. I’ve done it all and haven’t regretted an instance. Sure, skydiving may not be for everyone, but the same adrenaline rush I get from jumping out of a plane, you might get from eating exotic fruits. Each his own and you make your own adventure, as long as you are living it up; I’m cool with it.  White water raft down a river or cliff dive into the ocean, life awaits. 

Now I’m not saying that chilling by a pool at a resort can’t and isn’t fun, what I’m trying to say is maybe spice it up a bit. Sitting by the pool all day is perfect after you hiked 10 miles and bungee jumped off a bridge. We only get one ride on this planet so you should enjoy every step you take.

Travel on my friends; enjoy your ride, wherever it may take you.

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6 Pro Travel Tips from Adam Richman

If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, get ready to feel inspired. With technology and air travel connecting our world more than ever before, it’s not as tough as it may seem to turn your “Places To Visit” Pinterest board into a reality. To prepare to get up close and personal with the […]

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If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, get ready to feel inspired. With technology and air travel connecting our world more than ever before, it’s not as tough as it may seem to turn your “Places To Visit” Pinterest board into a reality. To prepare to get up close and personal with the world around you, take a look at these tips from travel expert Adam Richman, host of Travel Channel series like Man vs. Food and Secret Eats. Richman also recently teamed up with Capital One’s Priceless Surprises program to surprise four lucky Massachusetts cardholders with trips to Rome, London, Paris, and Hong Kong. Now, he’s ready to help SELF readers plan out dream adventures of their own with the below travel secrets. Happy exploring!

1. To avoid crowds, be picky about which travel times you choose.If you have enough schedule flexibility to fly on off-peak hours, take advantage of it. Popular travel dates and times (like Saturday mornings, Sunday nights, and pre-holiday rushes) lead to congested airports and flights, which is no fun for anyone. “Choose your travel times carefully, ” Richman suggests. “[See] if you can take a red-eye [flight] out the night before a desired date.”

2. Be kind at the airport, no matter what.“Keeping a level head is extremely crucial,” Richman explains. Nobody loves the tension that comes with long lines in crowded airports, but treating others with respect is one way to keep things in check. “Being kind and polite has helped me as much as any kind of traveling savvy,” Richman says. “Also, have your boarding and your deplaning routine fairly down to a science, so you can get on and off the plane with ease.”

3. Strategically coordinate the outfits you pack.The best way to save space in your suitcase is to make sure everything you pack matches. “A friend of mine who works in the fashion and magazine industry recommended that I always pack in the colors of black, white, blue, and brown,” Richman says. “That way, everything goes with everything. I’s kind of a classic combination, and then you have the opportunity to go to multiple venues.”

4. Pack healthy snacks on the go.You ever know when you’ll be stranded someplace without any healthy eating options, so it’s always wise to pack your own fuel. “It’s very funny that at 30,000 feet people with the most strict dietary rules just let them go,” Richman says. “Normally when I sit down to dinner, I don’t have rolls, I don’t order bread, but suddenly I’ll have an in-flight meal with bread and butter. It just doesn’t make any sense.” Richman suggests fighting this phenomenon by stashing snacks like chicken jerky, turkey jerky, healthy granola bars, and raw almonds. “If I’m going to get [food] in an airport, I’ll usually get something like some kind of salad with chicken or some kind of simple turkey sandwich,” he explains.

5. Arrive with a sense of curiosity.“You know that expression that every gym teacher told us that made us roll our eyes, ‘You get out what you put in’?” Richman says. “It’s so true though. Ultimately, if you have an open heart and an open mind, and a willingness to go beyond the typical tourist places, and you do so with respect towards the environment around you, then you’re often rewarded by some of the most remarkable finds.” Don’t be afraid to (safely) push past your comfort zone. “Be humble, stay curious, stay hungry, and don’t get complacent.”

6. Be open to wherever your adventure takes you.Travel has the uncanny ability to bring out parts of our personalities we rarely display at home. “There’s that line from the song ‘Bittersweet Symphony,’ where he sings, ‘I’m a million different people from one day to the next,'” Richman says. “The thing about travel is that there are different places that elicit different sides of us that we might not necessarily be able to access in our day-to-day.”

Full article available from Self.com 
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Skiing vs Snowboarding: How to choose

Skiing versus snowboarding is an age-old discussion or at least a few decades old. It’s winter, the snow is falling all around and you can’t decide which winter sport you want to try. Sure, you have friends who have done both and they all give you differing opinions as to which sport you should give […]

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Skiing versus snowboarding is an age-old discussion or at least a few decades old. It’s winter, the snow is falling all around and you can’t decide which winter sport you want to try. Sure, you have friends who have done both and they all give you differing opinions as to which sport you should give a try. Skiers will tell you that snowboarding is for kids and snowboarders will tell you that skiing is lame. Who do you listen to and how do you choose?

 

I’ll be your impartial observer who gives you both sides of the story and you can decide your own fate. I’ll dictate some good talking points and some funny observations I’ve made in my over 20 plus years of winter sports participation. That’s all I’ll classify my activity as, I’m not an Olympic athlete nor am I completely uncoordinated. I am however a decent athlete and more than competent at both sports.

 

Snowboard

Style:

When discussing snowboarding, fashion is number one. Snowboarding culture is closely related to skateboarding, including their style and general demeanor. Snowboarders wear baggier clothing, the funkier the better with multiple clashing patterns. Snowboarders think they are cooler than they are and that attitude to important if you wish to emulate their style. Baggy pants and loose fitting jackets are the norm and you’d benefit from a cool beanie, like the hipster wear.

Vernacular:

The way one speaks is definitive to their culture and snowboarders definitely have their own traditions. Get ready to drop more “Dudes” and “Bros” than you are accustomed to. A snowboarders’ verbiage is similar to surfers and skaters. Also, break out your high fiving hand and be prepared to slap a few.

Boots:

The boots may be the classic difference between the two sports. Snowboarding boots are softer and cooler than ski boots. Snowboard boots are also much easier to walk around in, which makes a huge difference. These boots resemble normal winter boots except they are generally thicker and stiffer.

 

 

Ski

Style:

Skier style is more focused on speed and function than form. Skiers normally travel at a higher velocity than snowboarders so their outfits are tighter and more aerodynamic. You’ll notice bright colors and smoother fabrics, which help with speed and control.  

Also a huge difference between the two is skiers have poles. Poles help with balance and increase in the ease of moving on flat ground, which is a huge disadvantage to snowboarders.

Vernacular:

Skiers will speak of moguls and black diamonds, which will hardly be spoken by a snowboarder. Moguls are the bumpy sections of harder slopes and black diamonds reference the hardest and steepest courses. Snowboarders tend to stay away from black diamonds and tend to hang in the snowboard park. Skiers tend to speak in perfect sentences and mention lattes often.

Boots:

Once again the biggest divide between the two are the boots used. Ski boots are extremely stiff and almost impossible to walk around. Snowboarders will habitually make fun of the duck like walks of skiers. Ski boots are stiff to give the rider much more control at high speeds.

 

These are just a few of the differences between skiing and snowboarding, now it’s up to you to chose your poison. Skiing or snowboarding, it’s a tough decision, why not try both, and see what fits your style better.

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