California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal handed down a ruling that quite clearly tells the business traveler that anytime he or she enters or re-enters the United States – whether at LAX, JFK or any other international terminal – his or her laptop, and every directory, sub-directory and file on the hard drive, can be opened, read and potentially copied by Customs and Border Patrol officers. This should raise alarm bells for anyone traveling overseas on business, given the nature of the proprietary, confidential and sensitive information on virtually any businessperson’s laptop.
The most effective strategy to advert the risks of confidential proprietary information leaking into the public domain, or being exposed to the possibility of such leakage, is to take out a laptop rental at minimal expense from a PCRetro Rentals before embarking. Load the rental laptop with only the information and files you will require, and wipe the hard drive clean of any information or files that cannot be exposed to public scrutiny before returning to the U.S.
Files and sensitive data can be filed on your firm’s or provider’s secured servers at any time from your overseas business destinations. Business travelers, however, will want to avoid the risk of exposing crucial business data to public exposure by inadvertently leaving data on their personal laptop hard drive and having its security compromised at the U.S. border. Utilizing a laptop rental from PCRetro Rentals when traveling overseas avoids this. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents do not need any particular suspicion to search your laptop, and once you arrive at Customs it is too late to avoid having your data exposed to public scrutiny. Once it is read you can no longer warrant that your company’s private information is not in the public domain. Something as simple as picking up a laptop rental, and then returning it wiped clean at the end of your business trip can help you avoid potentially critical problems down the road.