back to article The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Getting into America can be tricky at the moment if you have the wrong skin color or the wrong surname. Even though President Donald Trump's crackdown on refugees and Muslim immigrants has been put on hold by the courts, US border officials have got the message: now's the time to make life difficult for some people entering …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, it seems that keeping your terrorist contact list and itinery on an old fashioned notepad (of the paper variety) will fool them. Dumb cops !!!

    Posted anonymously for obvious reasons :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      keeping your terrorist contact list and itinerary it's better written on Rizla (cig wrap) crunched-up, then wrapped in cling-film and kept in your mouth during border x-ing [according to Dutch WWII resistance & provos in '70s]

      posted pseudonymously as world+dog has my data

      1. Joe 35

        "keeping your terrorist contact list and itinerary it's better written on Rizla (cig wrap) crunched-up, then wrapped in cling-film and kept in your mouth during border x-ing [according to Dutch WWII resistance & provos in '70s]"

        =====

        No, not your mouth :-)

    2. 2460 Something
      Black Helicopters

      Nah, just store it all in an accessible server, not on or linked to the physical device your taking in. And, of course, make sure the only password you use is "xx00_ILoveAmerica_00xx".

      Once there you can access stuff you need over ssh or remote desktop and you'll be fine. You just have to remember, when it comes to dictatorships like North Korea, China, Russia and America, the question isn't "Am I too paranoid", it is instead "Am I being paranoid enough".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Strangely, when travelling to Russia and Chine (especially China) I found the border staff friendly and helpful. They treated me like a welcome visitor rather than a criminal and they didn't ask me for access to my laptop or phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "they didn't ask me for access to my laptop or phone."

          Just because they already knew before you get off the plane.

        2. Potemkine Silver badge

          Paranoid

          When we had to fix a laptop which went through Chinese customs, we discovered screws tightening the hard disk were damaged... a coincidence, surely ^^

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Paranoid

            "When we had to fix a laptop which went through Chinese customs, we discovered screws tightening the hard disk were damaged... a coincidence, surely ^^"

            The US and UK do that sort of thing too - plug it in to another computer via a USB dongle, check it's got nothing interesting on - or image it for looking at later - then put it back...

            https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/28/uk-police-terrorism-act-newsnight-journalist-secunder-kermani-laptop

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC

          Chinese are the friendliest - The maid in the hotel even offered me a fresh TV, despite there being nothing wrong with the one I was watching!

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: @AC

            "The maid in the hotel even offered me a fresh TV"

            I'm guessing a Samsung...

      2. Ramazan

        @2460 Something

        They may also demand you to hand over your private ssh key's passphrase, so you will need to use password auth instead of pubkey one. Moreover, with known_hosts being accessible by third person for some time, you are vulnerable to MITM attack. Having paper printout of known_hosts with you all the time would help.

        1. Number6

          Re: @2460 Something

          They may also demand you to hand over your private ssh key's passphrase,

          I don't ever keep passphrases or passwords on laptops, the only exceptions being what I need to access my VPN server and even then, that is of limited use because it's an endpoint in the cloud. Chances are they know about it anyway, given that the IP address resolves to a hostname that can be traced back to me. No useful files are available, it's purely to keep me safer when connected via unknown WiFi.

        2. Blacklight

          Re: @2460 Something

          Use multi-factor.

          SSH can be set to use pubkey, OTP and user/password (in any order), if not more. It can also be set to act differently depending on connecting IP. At home? Simple password. Not at home? All of the above.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      imo Devices should have a "wipe device" pincode or password that will start the wipe process immediately on entry to thwart this type of privacy invasion. Then you just recover later from your (ideally non US based) cloud backup....

      1. Ramazan

        @TheVogon

        Reliable software wipeout of e.g. 1TB HDD would take about 12hours IIRC.

        1. Adam JC

          Re: @TheVogon

          Depends - If you have full disk encryption enabled beforehand, even if they managed to restore anything the best they'd get is 1TB of scrambled data and a bootloader... IF they're lucky.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: @TheVogon

          "Reliable software wipeout of e.g. 1TB HDD would take about 12hours IIRC."

          If you cared that much about security, it would be encrypted, and the first thing a wipe should hit is the boot info and the keys... Regardless of time once the wipe process is started on any OS I have seen that has a built in one (only mobile atm ?), you can't then load the OS even if you turn off / on.

          By the way, for anyone that does care and uses Windows with encryption on a non domain joined version, please be aware that by default it backs up your BitLocker keys to OneDrive!

      2. Michael Thibault

        > Then you just recover later from your (ideally non US based) cloud backup....

        This, presumably, after you've served your time, been deported, or both?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Forgot piece of advice number 1

      Do not go to the US.

      I've been avoiding the place since 1995.

      Been to nearly 100 other countries, lived in seven, but I refuse to go to or through the States. Good people, by and large, and great food if you know where to look, but their political system is particularly rotten and their border guards are absolute idiots.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

        "Do not go to the US.

        I've been avoiding the place since 1995.

        Been to nearly 100 other countries, lived in seven, but I refuse to go to or through the States. Good people, by and large, and great food if you know where to look, but their political system is particularly rotten and their border guards are absolute idiots."

        What rubbish!! As if the U.K's, and Europe's, political systems are so perfect that they can afford to throw stones at glass houses.

        As an American, the last time I went to visit the beautiful land of Canada via road crossing I was held by the Canadian Border Patrol, because I had the nerve to previously work in Canada for a Canadian company. In case you did not know, they apparently do not like that. So don't go thinking that the paranoia isn't worldly and is expressly created from one side of America's borders, your holier-than-thou position does not cut it. I'll get downvoted but YOU weren't the one held in Canada simply because I possess a commercial driver's license.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

          Hehe ... I've been watching a TV show called Border control where they frequently giving Americans a hard time while entering a Canadian land border post.

          You guys shouldn't have so much fun of the Canadians, for all those years (I think they are still sore from Southpark guy!)

          Mexico will probably start doing the same soon.

        2. Truckle The Uncivil

          Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

          Have you enquired as to how unemployed pilots have been doing since 11/9 ?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

          > What rubbish!! As if the U.K's, and Europe's, political systems are so perfect that they can afford to throw stones at glass houses.

          I fully agree with your criticism, actually. It has got pretty silly over here too. The difference for me is that as a EU citizen I have a bit more resources to oppose this (and I do, through regular contact with politicians and EU and national institutions, aka pissing in the wind), but you are on the whole correct. In any case, my refusal to visit the States should by no means be taken to imply that things in Europe are radically different, even though it may be difficult to make comparisons one way or another due to in-group bias.

          As for the Canadians, I cannot comment on them.

          PS: In case someone is tempted to point out that we do not seize electronic devices over here, first let me remind you of Mr Miranda. This is a high profile case, but by no means the only one. Also, many of my fellow Europeans may not be aware that, until last week, the mere perusal (not publication) of sites based on their ideological content was a crime in France. Publication of subversive material, even when fundamental and human rights are respected, is still a crime in its own right in Spain.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

          I think you are trying to get us all to experience your angst but we don't want to. I believe the author was explaining how unfriendly America has become, especially in the last several years. Canadian border guards have to know who is coming into their country just as much as America does. Every Canadian male between the ages of 18 and 40 has at least once been questioned by American border guards whether they were coming to America to take a job. Canada has the same concerns and your experience doesn't matter here.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Forgot piece of advice number 1

        There's the recent incident of one Juhel Miah, a math teacher at a school in Wales, who got booted off a flight to the US because of his name or something. He's English, of course (born in Birmingham). Obviously if you've got a Muslim sounding name or -- God Forbid -- a beard then don't bother coming here.

        I didn't vote for this crap, most of us didn't, but we're all going to have to put up with it for a few years. Maybe the technical community can do us all a favor by throttling the Heartland's internet speeds so they can't easily get their alternative news feeds. After all, its now the fashionable thing to dump on us coastal elite types because we've got jobs and stuff so if they don't want what we make then let them go back to using dial phones.

  2. kmac499

    Timely advice

    But sadly from a time I thought we had passed. You would have taken this approach when visiting the Soviet bloc, or some of the less savoury middle East or Asian regimes, 30+ years ago, not our closest ally with a special relationship.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Timely advice

      Visiting pre-revolutionary Romania was a breeze. Though the lack of street lighting combined with large pot-holes and poor sign-posting made for an exciting time whilst also watching out for the Securitate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timely advice

        No streetlights? Pot holes? Poor signposting? Secret police?

        You are sure you are not talking about the UK?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Timely advice

          > You are sure you are not talking about the UK?

          Quite obviously not. The signposting in the UK is all right.

    2. Baldy50

      Re: Timely advice

      Yep! My uncle didn't see his parents etc for 25 years, till the wall came down, the Ruskies wouldn't let him in, (Born in a little rural village under Russian control, after the 'don't mention it')! The EU was a safer place before it came down, just saying!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timely advice

        My grandfather had friends in West Berlin - they were almost free to visit their relatives in the East.... but not vice versa (they wouldn't have returned, of course...)

        Some Eastern countries "welcomed" some tourists especially when they brought in some precious foreign currency, unless, of course, they had reason to deny entry because someone could create "issues". There were often limitations about where you could stay and where you could go.

        Anyway I was planning to go to US this August to watch the solar eclipse, but I guess I'll go to some other more relaxing place and spend my money there instead.

        I'm also afraid Trump & C. could think the eclipse is a sign of ire from god - or some Muslim terrorists hacked the Sun, and you really don't know what they could do...

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Timely advice

          I am going to see the eclipse, as I had booked tickets already. I am wondering what they will make of all the kit I will be carrying to record the event, but in my experience the response to carrying telescopes and the like is generally that you get put into the category "Harmless nerd". I'm OK with that, although "Mostly harmless" may be more accurate

          The advice on remaining polite is important. I have only once had a really grumpy customs officer in the USA, and remaining polite got me through that (unpleasant) experience without much trouble. All the other times I was treated with courtesy.

          1. John Sager

            Re: Timely advice

            I am going to see the eclipse

            Likewise. I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years on both business & vacation. I've never had any problem with Immigration or Customs & hopefully I've built up a record of probity with them. One assumes they look at previous history of visits.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years "

              It does surely helps. But my name doesn't sound English, and I've been also in many other countries including Middle East, North Africa, Asia (lots of Muslims in Malaysia!) , and former Soviet Bloc. I can't ask for a new passport every time I have to go to US... just like Arabic countries go mad if you have an Israel visa.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: "I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years "

                Hey, Barak. There's no need to post as AC. You're amongst friends here.

                1. netminder

                  Re: "I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years "

                  But he came from that foreign land Republicans have only heard of, Hawaii.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years "

                > just like Arabic countries go mad if you have an Israel visa.

                Actually, they don't. You may *very* occasionally come across someone who wants to make a bit of a statement, but you just tell them that's the realities of life. It helps if you can speak Arabic though.

            2. Vinyl-Junkie
              Joke

              @ John Sagar

              "hopefully I've built up a record of probity with them"

              I hope so too, or you'll soon be experiencing a new kind of probe-ity...

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Timely advice

              > hopefully I've built up a record of probity with them.

              HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!!

              HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!!

              HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!!

              HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!!

              HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!! HAR!!

              Now pull the other one, Mr I Have Nothing to Hide.

            4. Adrian Midgley 1

              However, their direction has changed...

              Hitherto the nice helpful world-wise ones would tell the paranoid foreigner-haters how to behave in the expectation that all the way up to the top of the Administration they would be recognised as correct.

          2. LDS Silver badge
            Joke

            "carrying telescopes and the like ... you get put into the category "Harmless nerd"

            Once. Now they will put you in the category of "dangerous foreign spy with sophisticated equipment aimed at long range reconnaissance". And they of course will confiscate all your memory cards with your precious photos on exit...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "carrying telescopes and the like ... you get put into the category "Harmless nerd"

              Reminds me how a few years ago, in an otherwise reasonably sensible West European country I was put in detention until the anti-terrorist brigade came to have a chat. The reason: I happened to be carrying the following items in my bag:

              * A compass

              * An altimeter

              * A digital camera (when they were quite new)

              * A company document written in a right-to-left language which wasn't Hebrew.

              They were so concerned about my presence that they retreated to another room.

              Obviously, the anti-terrorist guys knew their job, told off the regular cops and told me to go away.

              What was quite amusing was that they didn't realise I am fluent in their language and could follow all their conversations. One of the guys was genuinely scared but he had started off as a cocky bastard until the company document came out so I wasn't in a rush to put him at ease.

          3. Flywheel Silver badge

            Re: Timely advice

            in my experience the response to carrying telescopes and the like is generally that you get put into the category "Harmless nerd"

            Oh, you wouldn't be planning to go .. aircraft spotting .. would you sir?

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1697862.stm

          4. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: Timely advice

            "Harmless Nerd" - me too! although I am combining the eclipse trip with a family holiday so hopefully nothing to arouse suspicions.

          5. Kiwi Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: Timely advice

            I am going to see the eclipse, as I had booked tickets already. I am wondering what they will make of all the kit I will be carrying to record the event, but in my experience the response to carrying telescopes and the like is generally that you get put into the category "Harmless nerd".

            Might I suggest you look at hiring equipment while there and only take the bare minimum? After all I am sure the US customs people, and likely lots of their cops, are well-versed in how one can build all sorts of weapons from those parts, from using the scope tube as some sort of cannon or casing for a nukleaaaaar bomb or using the scope as a high-power laser simply by turning it backwards and pointing a laser pointer at it the wrong way (after all if it makes the sun ignite paper, just imagine what a laser pointer can do !!11!!!!!1!!1!!!!1!!1!).

            Besides, while you might be considered "mostly harmless nerd" by most, there are some bullies who wind up as baggage handlers who like to be "mostly harmful" to expensive kit. Would hate to see any 'scope getting harmed by these twits and their less-than-gentle handling of stuff.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Timely advice

              are well-versed in how one can build all sorts of weapons from those parts,

              Whoops, forgot to reference their great training manuals - the stuff that comes out of Hollywood et al. Kinda nervous about how the new McGyver series might be showing this stuff, and daren't watch it in case it really ruins my memory of the old series. And of course many of them believe CSI:CRAPFEST, NCIS:INCEST, Scorpion and so on are realistic portrayals of what a few intelligent people can do with a can of baked beans (minus can and beans), imagination, and 2 minutes to crack someone's 4,096,000,000,000 key while they download a petabyte of data in 3 seconds over a 1200/75 modem.

          6. Mike Richards Silver badge

            Re: Timely advice

            Certain airports in the US seem to have particularly unpleasant immigration officers - JFK and Orlando are notorious (BA even used to give warnings about how awkward immigration could be at Orlando). Those on the West Coast are generally more friendly.

            At least they used to be, and I hope so, I have to visit Seattle in three weeks, and there's little worse than a pain-in-the-ass immigration officer when it's oh-god-oh-clock in the small hours of the morning according to your body clock.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Timely advice

              The biggest PIA is having a pesky CHI officer trying to back track your entire life and the exact suppressed reason that you visited the Czech Republic when your connecting flight is going to leave in 20 minutes.

        2. RegGuy1

          Re: Timely advice

          Anyway I was planning to go to US this August to watch the solar eclipse, but I guess I'll go to some other more relaxing place and spend my money there instead.

          'Intelligent design,' solar eclipse and Muslims. Surely scope for a fake news story there?

        3. netminder

          Re: Timely advice

          My Grandfathers brother and his wife lived in East Germany. Before he retired he or his wife could visit the West but not both at the same time. After he retired they were free to visit his son in the West whenever they wanted to go. Had they not returned West Germany would have paid his retirement & the East would have been very happy about that. He always chose to return though because it was the only home he had ever known.

        4. david 12 Bronze badge

          Re: Timely advice

          >but I guess I'll go to some other more relaxing place<

          WTF?

          Look, the USA border is no more welcoming to furriners than is the UK border, and it's suddenly got worse for a whole bunch of people from 7 countries, but it's still not as bad as it was 15 years ago, and not much different than it was last month.

          Being searched, detained, arrested, turned back, fined, or ignored for long periods is something that happens at borders. In the experience of my friends, relations and acquaintances, at the Canadian, Australian, UK, HK, Singapore, Vietnam, US and China borders. And that's only because I don't personally know anyone who has traveled to Africa, South America, or the Middle East.

          If you land at an old busy airport, or a busy old airport, expect to spend a long time in the queue. Apart from that, have fun.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timely advice

        The most friendly and polite customs I have ever dealt with were in Cuba.

        The rudest, nastiest and most vile ones were the US.

        And we're told the bad guys are?

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Timely advice

      Hey, we'd better have a damn special relationship in order to be donning the marigolds and lubing up whilst I bend over.

    4. zero-gravitas

      Re: Timely advice

      But America is the new Soviet bloc. Trump and his cohorts are "special friends" with Russia.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

      "not our closest ally with a special relationship."

      You don't honestly still believe that do you?

      The average American doesn't know or care a damn about the alleged "special relationship". Their politicians don't care either, but are obviously prepared to humour the British if it suits them. It's an entirely one-way delusion (or lie) on behalf of the British establishment that wants to think- or pretend- that it still has more power than it does.

      We saw the cringe-inducing results of this sort of thing when Tony Blair was in power and wanted to believe he had some sort of influence over George W Bush during the Iraq war. The end result was that he pandered to whatever the Americans wanted in the hubristic delusion that he was getting anything in return when it was obvious at the time- and subsequently all-but-confirmed by the Americans themselves- that they were only doing what they would have done anyway.

      Having left the EU with delusions of grandeur and an arrogant "they'll have to give us what we want" intention of leaving the EU customs union and assumption that the relationship balance of power with the Commonwealth countries remains as it was fifty years ago- they're in for a shock there- America has the UK over a barrel when it comes to a unilateral trade deal as the larger partner. (Ironically, we'll probably get something like TTIP- which was all but dead by the time the UK voted to leave the EU- which gives the Americans free reign over the UK market). Ever wonder why the Americans prefer unilateral trade deals with smaller partners than with equally-sized trading blocks? I'll *bet* they do.

      Anyway, this'll require plenty of "special relationship" b******t to give the illusion- and purely the illusion- of not being shafted, though it's not clear whether Theresa May and her gang of Little Englanders actually believe this, or simply expect us to do so.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

        But Tony Blair DID get something in return for being Bush's poodle.

        How do you think he made as much money as he did in the US after leaving office?

      2. fruitoftheloon
        Thumb Up

        @AC: Re: "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

        Dear AC,

        firstly:

        - we haven't left the EU [yet]

        secondly:

        The PM didn't exactly campaign for Brexit

        Not everyone (I know this is a shocking concept, but bear with me) who voted to leave the EU (which isn't by any means, shape, or form the same as Europe), is a 'Little Englander' or whatever the fck that means.

        And in case you wondered, I have no problem AT ALL with folk from the EU living and working here, but unlike many people, I can understand why some folk may have a contrasting viewpoint; and NO that doesn't automatically make it OK for others to label such as 'Little Englanders' or racist/stupid/whatevers...

        Re the likely 'deal' we'll get from the new President, I reckon you nailed it just perfectly!

        Cheers,

        Jay

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC: "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

          "The PM didn't exactly campaign for Brexit"

          Theresa May was at best a lukewarm supporter of Remain who supported it as much because it was the government line. You can tell how upset she is at the result by how she wants to remain as close to the EU as possible and avoid a hard Brex... oh, wait.

          As for the rest of what you said, I was talking about the government. Those in power are- if not actual Little Englanders- then certainly the types that pandered to that tendency.

          I don't think everyone that voted Leave fell into that category anyway. I'd say they can be divided into two categories- stereotypical right-wing Tories and UKIPpers (or those heading in that direction)... and useful idiots who played into the hands of right-wing Tories and UKIPpers. My sympathy for the latter group is precisely f*** all.

          It was damn obvious the vote was going to be close and no place for protest "Leaves" that didn't really want to leave. As obvious as it was that the vision for post-Brexit Britain was that of those likely to be in power if they won- even further to the right, even more "free market". This, as it turned out, was correct. No surprise to anyone with half a brain.

          In addition, I didn't refer to anyone as "racist", "stupid" or "whatevers..." If others have used the terms in conjunction with "Little Englanders", that's up to them to explain/justify, not myself.

          That said, there's an arrogant parochialism and increasingly nasty, amoral and authoritarian streak coming from the Tory-right-dominated government that makes "Little Englander" seem like a charitable description, to be honest. They may boast about ambitious plans for trade deals with America- who are the ones with all the power- but it- and Brexit- still comes from an arrogant insularity puffed up like it's still the days of the British Empire.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: @AC: "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

          "The PM didn't exactly campaign for Brexit"

          Nor did she campaign for it to any noticeable extent. She was a gone-native Home Sec who was induced to see saw the EU as an impediment to what her department she wanted to do. As everyone expected Remain to win sticking her head over the parapet wouldn't have been consistent with wanting to keep her job post-referendum. It paid off for her, for us not so much.

      3. AnonC

        Re: "Special Relationship"- Cringe-inducing delusions of grandeur

        > The average American doesn't know or care a damn about the alleged "special relationship".

        Maybe I'm not the "average" American but I do know about and care about the special relationship between the US and UK. And I'm struggling with the mess that the US politicians have been and are continuing to make, not only with that special relationship but also with the rest of the world.

    6. kernelpickle

      Re: Timely advice

      Don't worry about our special relationship, things have just gotten a little more special--now that a little bit of digital penetration has been brought into the mix! ;-)

      Just to be clear, I'm referring to BOTH kinds of digital penetration here... We promise to warm you up slowly, by deeply probing into all the digital bits stored inside of your electronic devices, and hopefully dig up anything naughty that you've been up to. Once we've gotten over some inhibitions, we'll REALLY start digging deep--by using several digits to meticulously probe around inside of your naughty bits, to look around for any devices that may be stored up in you!

      I realize that you many not be initially on all the changes we've been making to our arrangement after so many years, but I think that we can both admit that we've simply lost some of that spark between us. This is just something new that we've decided to try out, because we really feel like it's going to help spice things up a bit! :-P

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let America isolate itself into oblivion...

    The world will go on... The last time America was great was during the space race to the Moon, but now its just a sad burrito...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

      ... for illegal immigrants and US citizens... let them taste some of their medicine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

        Ok, but what does that have to do with the UK? We are not part of the Schengen agreement.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

        I was going to say perhaps LDS is not British. Just to check I took at LDS's forum postings. Christ LDS. You do a lot of postings! :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

          "Christ LDS."

          Isn't it Jesus Christ and LDS?

          (Wonder when the Trump administration is going to start using ancestry data in immigration controls?)

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

          "Christ LDS. You do a lot of postings!"

          So does Anonymous Coward. Are you sure you're not actually several working as a team?

        3. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

          Christ LDS. You do a lot of postings!

          Maybe he transposed the S and D.. And, well, just watch the old biddy in "There's Something About Mary" for what that stuff can supposedly do to someone's productivity levels :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I strongly believe it's time to strengthen the Schengen border...

        LDS, I do not think you realise just how difficult it is to get into Schengen without a Western passport. Unfortunately, only a handful of countries have the balls to reciprocate (Angola being one) so you can get a taste of the experience.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An overpriced hot dog truck on every corner

      "but now its just a sad burrito..."

      How dare you call the United States to a "sad burrito". How *dare* you.

      Don't you *ever* compare it to a foodstuff from those eeevil Mexicans (regardless of how tasty it is).

      The modern United States is a lukewarm hot dog on a stale, over-aerated white bread roll with a stingy squirt of bland, "All-American Style*" (#) mustard. And don't you forget it!

      (#) * Back of package disclaimer reads: "All-American Style Mustard. Made in China. Allergy Advice: Manufactured in a factory that may also produce melamine."

      1. Vinyl-Junkie
        Joke

        Re: An overpriced hot dog truck on every corner

        Shouldn't that be an "...over-Aryan-ated white bread..." ?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Vinyl-Junkie
            WTF?

            Re: An overpriced hot dog truck on every corner

            @ Truckle the Uncivil

            "I do not know what your 'race' is,"

            I'll give you a clue; I have blonde hair, blue eyes and a significant part of my ancestry is from Northern Europe. So even if my remark was "racist" which I would dispute; it's at my own expense, and that definitely isn't racist (if it was there would be an awful lot of ethnic stand-up comedians out of a job, from Billy Connelly to Romesh Ranganathan!)

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: An overpriced hot dog truck on every corner

        > (#) * Back of package disclaimer reads: "All-American Style Mustard. Made in China. Allergy Advice: Manufactured in a factory that may also produce melamine."

        I call "fake news" on that. The real disclaimer would have included the phrase "Caution: Contents may be hot"

  4. Dr Scrum Master

    "now's the time to make life difficult for some people entering the country"

    You mean that it's going to get even worse?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "now's the time to make life difficult for some people entering the country"

      And here's the understatement of the year: <i>...Unfortunately, CBP staff aren't always adequately trained...</i>

  5. Gray
    Trollface

    Other than that...

    We sincerely hope you enjoy your visit!

    (A US citizen who lives in the magic 100-mile zone, which also includes the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coastal strips. As provisionally-permitted residents...those of us who were born here...we're expecting a slight revision to CBP rules: mandatory check-points and personal document inspections at all state border crossings.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

    Any attempt to access any account (and therefore data) I hold dear is protected by 2FA requiring a remote device - generally a phone.

    Which I would leave in the UK, should I visit the US.

    So, when stopped - and "required" to provide access, they can knock themselves out with my username & password. They still won't get in.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

      > So, when stopped - and "required" to provide access, they can knock themselves out with my username & password. They still won't get in.

      And neither, I suspect, would you. The drone with the gun or the dude with the badge doesn't give a stuff whether you visit The land of the Free or not.

      As Ian Dury once said during a concert: "You can either bend with the wind or break. Right now I will break wind"

      If "they" want to search your phone, let 'em. Any sensible person would travel with a device they wouldn't mind losing - either from carelessness or from criminal or government activity. Since pretty much all phone data can be backed up to "the cloud" - as can commercial, sensitive or smutty data, just make sure your dropbox (or whatever) account is available and load your contact list, and all the other stuff once you're through the government checkpoint.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        You think you've outsmarted them, they've taken a copy from Dropbox anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        Sync.com > Dropbox for sensitive data. Your own server, even better.

        1. GingerOne

          Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

          "Sync.com > Dropbox for sensitive data. Your own server, even better."

          Fer Chrissakes no! Dropbox is most definitely not for sensitive data! Dropbox hold your data in the US. The US Goverment agencies have access to the data in Dropbox. Ergo, it is NOT secure!

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            @ GingerOne

            He didn't say Dropbox was for sensitive data. He specifically stated that Sync was superior to Dropbox for sensitive data. It's in that little > sign he included.

            Sync is superior to Dropbox because Sync includes end-to-end encryption, something that Dropbox lacks.

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

      Minimum necessary encypted data/image uploaded to cloud before travelling

      Clean phone and laptop as suggested by governments for visiting 'dodgy' countries through border

      Once in, download encrypted data/image and install

      Wipe and restore clean image before leaving.

      Isn't that what all the bad actors are going to be doing anyway?

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        Yep, ever since the Yank's border agents went rogue with their inspections I'd have thought SOP would be to factory reset the phone and take a fresh install laptop with you. Possibly even make that a basic Nokia candy-bar type phone - pure calls and texts. They can image a fresh install until the cows come home.

        Genuine question - given they image the phone, does that mean that a Google Authenticator installation would be susceptible? i.e. are its 2FA number cycles safe or not once cloned?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        Remember that the CBP agents can and do load malware onto phones.

        Pulling down your data after crossing won't help against this.

        The malware will have access to the data for sending on.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        > Isn't that what all the bad actors are going to be doing anyway?

        Don't think so. Last I checked they were all busy starring in Hollywood blockbusters.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

      This is actually the recommended action as per EFF and ACLU (via BoingBoing and WIRED). Lock anything you use with 2FA and make sure the device you use for 2FA stays at home. That way yes, everything remains locked and inaccessible.

      Wired: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/guide-getting-past-customs-digital-privacy-intact/

      BoingBoing: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/12/how-to-cross-a-us-or-other-b.html

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

      The trouble with turning up with either everything locked down with 2FA, or reset to factory is that it's unusual behaviour, and as such might well 'prove' that you're a terrorist (especially if you're not white with an easy to pronounce name).

      What you need is a phone with the statistically normal number of banal text messages to and from your (equally white) friends, plus a webmail account full of receipts from good US companies like Apple and Amazon, and a photo album of pictures of your cat (not your kids, don't want to be accused of being a pedo).

      The more boring and normal you look, the less problems you'll have.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: 2FA with the remote device *well* away ?

        The trouble with turning up with either everything ... reset to factory is that it's unusual behaviour, and as such might well 'prove' that you're a terrorist ...

        What you need is a phone with the statistically normal number of banal text messages to and from your (equally white) friends

        How the world changes, years back I only ever took a tri-band rental phone to the US because of the different frequency's used compared to the dual-band required for UK usage.

  7. b0llchit
    Black Helicopters

    Don't accept it, act on it

    The advice is obviously well meant, but it misses the point. You can change the ways if you resist. I'm not talking active resistance, but simply doing it passively.

    Stop travelling to a country that acts abusively. The US has shown to be actively hostile beyond any reasonable doubt. Do not accept that kind of behaviour and stop travelling to that country. Tell your employer and/or customer that you cannot in good conscience accept the abuse and are not willing to put yourself through the humiliation of entering a country that does not welcome you.

    1. Whitter
      Unhappy

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      I love the sentiment and will hold to it for holidays; but were I to suggest to my employer that the USA was a no-go, then I'd be on the first train out-of-town to P45 land. The sad reality that neither the USA nor my employers really have any regard for me (or anyone really).

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        You can act on it by only taking work supplied devices; if they are compromised or confiscated then it's not your problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          You can act on it by only taking work supplied devices; if they are compromised or confiscated then it's not your problem.

          If your employer has a legally mandated requirement to confidentiality or customer privacy they will get hit by the violation you have just created (if they find out, of course, but pings to your corporate data from a US IP address will soon give the game away). I suspect there will be a clause in your contract somewhere that will allow them to scapegoat you, at which point it very much becomes your problem.

          There are far better ways to protect yourself, and the company should help you with that if your visit is for business.

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            "If your employer has a legally mandated requirement to confidentiality or customer privacy they will get hit by the violation you have just created ... I suspect there will be a clause in your contract somewhere that will allow them to scapegoat you, at which point it very much becomes your problem."

            If it's a work-related trip, then taking work supplied devices may well be a necessity. They would have a hard time justifying any scapegoating action.

          2. Vinyl-Junkie

            Re: the violation you have just created

            I was talking about officially supplied work devices taken in the full knowledge by your employer that you will be visiting the USA for work purposes (as who would want to go there now unless ordered to?). What were you talking about?

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            "If your employer has a legally mandated requirement to confidentiality or customer privacy they will get hit by the violation you have just created"

            Is it so hard to work out that if the employer is sending an employee to a rogue state such as the US with company provided electronics then they'll provide suitably clean kit?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          You have a work-supplied device?

          Fucking hell!

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            You have a work-supplied device?

            Fucking hell!

            BYOD is dead. It's pushing up the daisies. Pining for the fiords. Didn't you get the memo?

            1. Faceless Man

              Re: Don't accept it, act on it

              "BYOD is dead. It's pushing up the daisies. Pining for the fiords. Didn't you get the memo?"

              Not before time. Unfortunately, it is before my workplace implements it, and I don't see them changing their plans. It's all about making their poorly compensated employees front up for basic IT infrastructure rather than the organisation paying for it.

      2. Baldy50

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        My thoughts exactly.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        "were I to suggest to my employer that the USA was a no-go, then I'd be on the first train out-of-town to P45 land"

        I never thought I would see the day my criminal record was of so much use. Way back when I was caught with a small amount of cannabis and got a conditional discharge and order to pay £10 costs. This means I can't enter the US on the Visa Waiver scheme and if they want to send me to the US I need a Visa and there is no guarantee I would get one. The conviction was declared on my background checks and work has no issue; it was a long time ago and I'm no recidivist. It does give me the out from having to visit our "murrican" colleagues and all the hassle at border control though.

        1. silverfern

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          If your employer finds out that you've got an age-old drug conviction that would prevent you from entering the US and if he is looking to downsize, then it's still P45-land, mate: "Employee not able to perform his job."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            @silverfern.

            My employer will not "find out about it", they already know.

            We also have very effective conference call facilities for business meetings.

            The only reason anyone here goes over is to "meet and greet", there are equivalent technical functions in both places. There is also the fact I am an awkward bugger and they would find themselves in a tribunal trying to prove that physically visiting the US was something essential to my role and that the same ends could not be achieved in a video conference. They would also be asked to show they had exhausted all avenues of obtaining a visa and had successfully addressed my human rights concerns. I would also be accompanied by a barrister from my trade union.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Don't accept it, act on it

              > There is also the fact I am an awkward bugger

              Honestly, I do not think you would need to get all recalcitrant. I can't really think of a single company that is happy to send people to the States. Of course, I do not know every company in the world, but travel there has for years been seen as a liability that is best avoided.

          2. fruitoftheloon
            Stop

            @silverfern: Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            Siverfern,

            err no it isn't, our fellow commentard declared it when applying for the job...

            If they were to subsequently try and use the disclosed info on the fashion you mentioned, can you detect a 'constructive dismissal' case heading inbound..?

            Cheers,

            Jay

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: @silverfern: Don't accept it, act on it

              "If they were to subsequently try and use the disclosed info on the fashion you mentioned, can you detect a 'constructive dismissal' case heading inbound..?"

              Technically no, as constructive dismissal would be only if he resigned. But unless he works in an ROA-exempt line of work (think security services, maybe teaching) you cannot use spent convictions as reason for termination.

              1. fruitoftheloon
                Thumb Up

                @DavCrav:Re: @silverfern: Don't accept it, act on it

                DavCrav,

                indeed, I didn't have time to put that in the post prior to scooting out.

                Thanks!

                Jay

          3. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            "If your employer finds out that you've got an age-old drug conviction that would prevent you from entering the US and if he is looking to downsize, then it's still P45-land, mate: "Employee not able to perform his job.""

            Spent convictions, certainly ones that have been declared, cannot be used as an excuse for termination, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974/Employment Rights Act 1996. Such dismissals are automatically treated as unfair.

            Hope you aren't in HR.

          4. Slef

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            Silverfern; Did you not read the bit where he said that he had disclosed conviction to employer?

        2. Starkoman

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          Hopefully that's not cramping your salary/promotion prospects?

          I'm not sure that the Federal Government are overly concerned with your microscopic weed crime thirty years ago and £10 costs (!).

          If correct, and given you're US border hassle averse, I hope your employer never finds out that the EDSA application is only £14 and almost nobody mentions trivial arrests/convictions on it anyway.

          Otherwise, they might seek a US-based time backpay in lieu of all the trips you dodged out of using that lame old excuse.

      4. JoshOvki

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        "then I'd be on the first train out-of-town to P45 land"

        I am lucky that travel isn't part of my contract, so they would have issues firing me for refusing to travel. America is on my list of no-go places recently.

      5. Velv Silver badge

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        but were I to suggest to my employer that the USA was a no-go, then I'd be on the first train out-of-town to P45 land. The sad reality that neither the USA nor my employers really have any regard for me (or anyone really).

        Unless you were specifically employed with international travel as a requirement of the job then you'd stand a good chance of constructive dismissal. No employer can compel you to leave the country.

        The USA will see a dip in foreign visitors. Will it be enough for some to take notice, not sure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          > Unless you were specifically employed with international travel as a requirement of the job

          These things are easily discussed and arranged with HR and/or your bosses.

          Typically HR keeps a record of who can't/won't travel to which places. For multinational companies, i.e., those employing nationals of multiple countries, this is pretty much a necessity in order to avoid the awkwardness, e.g., of sending a Saudi Arabian to Tel Aviv, a Libyan (back in the day) to the US, an American to pretty much anywhere else in the world, a Serbian (or Russian) to Kosovo, etc., etc.

          1. AndyD 8-)&#8377;

            Re: Don't accept it, act on it

            "These things are easily discussed and arranged with HR and/or your bosses.

            Typically HR keeps a record of who can't/won't travel to which places. "

            Quite - as it happens, a few years ago I worked for a company where most of the workforce indicated they wouldn't move to ... Middlesbrough.

            Co-incidentally we were all made redundant a few months later.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Don't accept it, act on it

          The USA will see a dip in foreign visitors. Will it be enough for some to take notice, not sure.

          They may not notice, given the rather large dip they have as El Prez...

      6. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        Actually, you *can* point this out to your employer, on the proviso that if you were to be detained and then deported, this would be on the company's dime and time, not yours. If someone wanted by the US government can do video conferences, so can you or anyone else (unless you are required to be there physically).

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't accept it, act on it

        > The sad reality that neither the USA nor my employers really have any regard for me (or anyone really).

        No offence, but you do need to respect yourself in order to be respected by others.

    2. Magani
      Happy

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      I'm in the very fortunate position that there is no possibility of having to visit the Land of the Free for work purposes, and I'm really sure that wild horses wouldn't have a chance of getting me to visit for pleasure, given their current position.

      Canada? Now there's a country worth visiting, if only to talk with expat 'murricans who've seen the light.

    3. oiseau Silver badge

      Act on it

      Hello:

      "Stop travelling to the US, a country that acts abusively and has shown to be actively hostile beyond any reasonable doubt. Do not accept that kind of behaviour and stop travelling there."

      There you go, fixed it.

      I will not travel to a country where I stand a chance of abuse by a border guard on a whim, with no way to protect yourself from his bad morning's foul humour.

      Sadly, this is not the first case.

      IIRC, a few years ago a US citizen, an IBM employee with a foreign sounding name and wrong skin shade was jailed for the longest time, with no call to a lawyer or family allowed.

      If it can happen to a native US government employed citizen like Bikkannavar, imagine your odds as a plain tourist.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      My employers Tier 1 US customers have been more then happy to re-arrange face to face meetings in Bermuda, Bahamas, Vancouver and Toronto. Unfortunately, we haven't yet convinced them met in Mexico City, not sure why.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      Hell... I live here and I don't want to travel anymore due to this crap. TSA, Customs, etc. all seem to go out of their way to life more of a bitch than it already is. I do believe things are going to get worse before they get better (for some value of "better"). With the local cops looking to pull over anyone for any infraction (cash for their city/countyselves), the grossly abused Forfeiture Laws (again enriching someone) why would I want to go out and face that?

      Hell, I assume everything I do on Net is recorded somewhere, at the least by the ISP and then available for any government agency that wants the details. I won't even get into those same ISP's and other corporates gathering everything they can and selling it to the highest bidder.

      It's a cesspool, these days.... it really is.

      </rant>

      My apologies to everyone not in this country. We have some great people here and wonderful things to see, but our government has been taking Gestapo, Stasi, and KBG lessons for the last few decades and that has got us where we are today.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      > Stop travelling to a country that acts abusively.

      Yup. Exactly what I've been doing since 1995.

      My employers knew and accepted this. It's not that uncommon, and it's a pain in the arse for the employer as well so they've always been happy to accommodate. Nowadays, my customers also know this so there's none of that "my place or yours".

    7. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Don't accept it, act on it

      Good luck with that. Just don't feed the bears and travel with stripped down devices. Chances are that you probably have way too much of your life on your mobile device than you should.

      Want to make a difference? Close your bank account and pay with cash. Don't buy products or services from companies like WallyWorld that are eroding the economy in your country. Money speaks louder than words and you vote with every purchase you make.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

    "Under the Fifth Amendment, no person can be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Court cases have decided that this means that passwords, because they are in your head, are covered by this. Fingerprints are physical evidence and are not, so you can be compelled to press your digit onto your handheld to unlock it, but not type in your long passcode."

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

      Yes, I read that in the original article.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'I read that in the original article.'

        Sure, but I felt it was worth repeating here's why... Device makers, banks and governments have been pushing hard for fingerprints, in spite of all the evidence against it and the inherent risks etc (Once leaked, biometric info can't be just changed like a password etc).

        1. Tests have shown that its remarkably easy even with a mid-level camera from a distance away, to photograph palms well enough to get prints that can break into many fingerprint devices.

        2. Meanwhile Hackers have laughed and said bring it on fools...

        3. The fact that passwords are off limits, but you can be forced to unlock a device using fingerprints by US customs can't be ignored. So is Uncle Sam pushing device makers towards this agenda?

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: 'I read that in the original article.'

          Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. Or, in this case, people like flashy, vacuous, it's so easy phone unlocking methods and the manufacturers couldn't give a shit either way. Banks only care when something forces liability for losses onto them, or rather they are unable to offload those losses onto the customer.

        2. nijam

          Re: 'I read that in the original article.'

          > 3. The fact that passwords are off limits, but you can be forced to unlock a device using fingerprints by US customs can't be ignored. So is Uncle Sam pushing device makers towards this agenda?

          At this point you will need an app that pops up a message on the screen saying "Restored Factory Settings" every time you use the fingerprint reader. And even, maybe, actually *does* wipe the device and restore the factory settings (if you usually use 2FA rather than the fingerprint scanner).

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

        My voice is my password... that's going to work out well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

          My voice is my password

          Yes, I watched that movie too :)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

      There really does need to be password & fingerprint lock.

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Urgent push towards fingerprints as login of choice now explained

      Court cases have also decided otherwise. You can refuse to provide your password if the fact that you know the password is evidence against you, not if the information that gets uncovered is evidence. Let's say someone was killed by being struck on the head with a laptop. The laptop is encrypted, but nobody cares what's actually on the laptop. If you can unlock the laptop, that proves you own the laptop and might be the killer - the police wouldn't even bother to read the contents of the laptop.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Court cases have decided

      I'm sure you'll have a very good time explaining that to the Border cops.

      Good luck getting out of there in time for your next flight !

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's easy with iOS

    As I alluded to before, it's a problem we addressed a good couple of years ago when the US used 9/11 to basically grab anything it could lay its hands on under the banner "war on terror".

    There are a couple of tricks that iOS supports by default that allow you to zap all corporate data (or data important to you but which has no business being in US hands) with one action, and then restore it once you have arrived at your hotel or another place with WiFi. For extra security I'd recommend setting up a VPN which makes the restore even safer, but the only think you have to do is find a way to memorise a complex password.

    And, as I said before, I'm not all that clever so I'm certain that ye olde terrist will have worked that one out too, as will they have worked out the profile that will always trigger a search which is why profiling is useless if you really want to act preventative.

    That said, I must give them their due: in my travels I have not come across a more ingenious way to combine harassment with theft of intellectual property and pass it off as security. It shows that spirit of innovation that will make America alone again.

    /sarcasm

    I'm not using Twitter but I suspect a post matching that other famous style would go something like this: "Orange President thinks we're all terrorists so he better stays behind his walls. Sad!"

  10. Whitter
    Big Brother

    Silver lining

    My company stopped us taking laptops etc. years ago going anywhere: a fresh pick-up device was always arranged at the destination before we went.

    But for the more entrepreneurial in the USA, I'd think there might be money to be made at the airport shops, car-rental or major hotels in renting out laptops/tablets/phones for visitors with a genuine-wipe on return.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Silver lining

      "But for the more entrepreneurial in the USA, I'd think there might be money to be made at the airport shops, car-rental or major hotels in renting out laptops/tablets/phones for visitors with a genuine-wipe on return."

      I don't think I'd trust one, nor the genuine-wipe on return.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Silver lining

        "I don't think I'd trust one, nor the genuine-wipe on return."

        What the article is missing is the advice given to visitors to China a few years ago, namely be prepared to junk any piece of kit you use there once you get back.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silver lining

        > I don't think I'd trust one, nor the genuine-wipe on return.

        Just make sure the rental agreement is OK with you doing a N pass (N to suit your level of security concerns) random overwrite of the drive before you return it...

      3. Kiwi Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Silver lining

        "...in renting out laptops/tablets/phones for visitors with a genuine-wipe on return."

        I don't think I'd trust one, nor the genuine-wipe on return.

        Not to hard to get around.. "You bring a CD/DVD with a copy of the OS of your choice, tick a box for the size HDD you wish for the machine to be loaded with, we rent you the machine. You install the OS yourself, and when you leave you take the disk with you, or smash/sell/bin it, your choice."

        Now if only my country's government were a bunch of untrustworthy twats wanting to steal other people's data and.. Oh, wait... KACHING!

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Silver lining

      "My company stopped us taking laptops etc. years ago ..."

      A friend of mine recently spent a few extra hours at a US airport.

      An official apparently decided that it was "deeply suspicious" that she was arriving for a five day business visit, with no electronic gadgets, and only one carry-on bag...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silver lining

        > An official apparently decided that it was "deeply suspicious" that she was arriving for a five day business visit, with no electronic gadgets, and only one carry-on bag...

        Yeah, happened to me as well minus the carry-on bag. I landed in Norway for a half-day meeting (OK, a bollocking) and when strolling out of the terminal, hands in pockets as it were, a totally paranoid old hag wanted to take me in for questioning. I wasn't in the best of moods and told her, quite literally, not to be so fucking stupid and get lost, which she did and which was a shame since it would have given me a great excuse to dodge the meeting.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silver lining

      Same happened in my previous company, strictly forbidden to take company laptops to the US.. they would try to copy the contents (all encrypted), refuse entry if the password was not provided, and plant malware.

      Why? well, my ex-company makes military hardware and software, and they dont care that we supplied to the US Navy and army.. fair target...

      As for not going to the us.. my wife is a US citizen, si visiting her family implies enduring all that crap.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you are screwed whatever you do or don't do

    If the CBP takes a dislike to you for some reason and that is not always your making, you are doomed.

    One time before communism collapsed, I was interrogated for hours at my point of entry because I had stamps for Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in my passport AND had the stamp saying that I'd been an accredited Civilian working for the British Army in Germany.

    They could not get it through their think heads that people might want to visit 'Those Commie Bastards'.

    It seems that not a lot has changed then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you are screwed whatever you do or don't do

      I'm going to give you an up-vote and some data advice:

      Here it is. It is mine. It belongs to me. Here it is. *ahem!* Sorry! Here it is, and it is mine:

      Put your data up high, very high, on a shelf, so no one can reach it.

      There you go. That was my theory, and it belongs to me.

      --Anne Elk

      Seriously, here's what you do; ship your phone to your hotel, and/or do the restore thing when you meet up with it again. Bring disposable tech on your journey, and use cloud, or your own, servers to fetch your data once you are inside. Never visit a red state, unless you are a white racist. And enjoy your in-flight movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airplane!

      Roger, roger. You're clear for clearance, Clarence. What's your vector, Victor?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It pains me to say it, but if you're white, have an English-sounding name, and have no stamps from the Middle East in your passport, you're unlikely to have problems."

    I am white and very English but I have a Saudi visa in my passport.

    I have a 100% success rate at being "randomly" selected for additional screening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      passports

      Re stamps in passports, I ended up with 2 passports as I used to visit Dubai regularly and needed to visit Israel as well, this passport also had South Africa stamps (apartheid was still in place). I guess now you just need a passport for just visiting the US.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: passports

        Dunno how the rules in Britain are now, but in the Netherlands it's strictly forbidden to own more than 1 passport at a time. To get a new one you have to surrender the old one when you pick up said new passport.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: passports

          Some countries make special dispensations for this scenario.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: passports

            Some countries make special dispensations for this scenario.

            Yes, for example Israel and Iran will refuse entry to anyone with a visa from the other country. Extra passports always available for this sort of thing.

          2. jason 7

            Re: passports

            I remember the Top Gear Xmas special from a few years back when they drove across the Middle East. When they got to one country they said "Oooh time to get the clean passport out that hasn't got the XXXXXX stamp in it!"

            I had never heard of having two passports before.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: passports

              When I was travelling a lot, I had two UK passports for about ten years, and on occasion, a third - not so much for 'been there? can't come here' issues but more because I would often be somewhere while my passport was required at a consulate for a visa application.

              Whether that's still allowed or not, I can't say.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: passports

          Dunno how the rules in Britain are now, but in the Netherlands it's strictly forbidden to own more than 1 passport at a time. To get a new one you have to surrender the old one when you pick up said new passport.

          Not quite - ask at your next renewal. If you do business in, for instance, both Israel and the Middle East it's an exceptionally dangerous idea to do that on the same passport, but you will have to prove that you do visit both locations before you can get a second passport - the rules are very, very strict.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: passports

            @AC

            You are indeed correct. I looked into it and in NL it is now the case you can get a dual passport if you can prove that either you travel enough your passport is often away in an ambassy for obtaining a visum OR you travel to both Israel and a specified list of middle eastern countries. Neither of which is possible if you are just going to the states on holiday.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: passports

              in NL it is now the case you can get a dual passport

              I'd scrap the "now" - it's been like that for at least 2 decades that I know of. They may have tightened the rules quite a bit, but the Dutch are rather pragmatic in these things :).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: passports

        > I guess now you just need a passport for just visiting the US.

        Yes you do. It's been the case for at least fifteen years.

        The situation of the English gentleman above you is common. I used to work with a dual (British-American) national who switched passports in Amsterdam when returning home to the US from wherever it was that we had been to.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ten years ago, when I entered the US for the first time, I had a 2-year old Pakistan visa in my passport. Over the one-hour long interview, the border agent repeatedly asked me what my profession was: "computer network engineer". "Did you say chemical engineer?". One year later, there was a lady officer: "Oh, I see you've been to Pakistan" - but fortunately this was the only remark. Two years later, I had not only the Pakistan visa, but Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Tunisian visas as well - no more questions. It seems to me that the history that they built on you matters a lot. Therefore, until recently, I haven't thought about leaving my data at home. But, one month ago, the border agent made the remark that I had visited the US too many times (if two or three times per year is too much)...

      BTW, I am white and I was working for IBM ten years ago.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Take a Chromebook rather than a laptop? The password you provide can be to a clean account.

    Take a plain old dumb phone with a PAYG SIM. Alternatively have a few files that arrived by spam labelled Invoice on your phone and hope they try to open them on their own machine.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Take a Chromebook rather than a laptop?

      You mean, once they think you have stored everything on Google they will give you a nod and thank you for already giving 'em everything and saving the time to copy data out of your device?

  14. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "I never recommend lying to a border agent"...

    But I don't have a Facebook account... And yet you expect me to tell them I just can't access it ?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "I never recommend lying to a border agent"...

      >But I don't have a Facebook account... And yet you expect me to tell them I just can't access it ?

      The article didn't say that! :)

      If you don't have a Facebook account and say so, then you are not lying and thus cannot be caught in a lie. The advice in the article was not to say you don't have a Facebook (or Twitter etc) account if in fact you do, because the existence of said Facebook account can be verified.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: "I never recommend lying to a border agent"...

        Someone who rocks up with no electronic devices and claims they've got no social media accounts (even if it's the truth) will probably be considered a suspect anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I never recommend lying to a border agent"...

          "Someone who rocks up with no electronic devices and claims they've got no social media accounts (even if it's the truth) will probably be considered a suspect anyway."

          Or security engineer who knows better than to flout that fact.

          It seems ironic to me that in the act of trying to secure their borders they are actually creating huge vulnerabilities.

          I reckon it would be a lot easier to infiltrate these border agencies to scan data from key government suppliers than it would be to go direct. For example, I might end up going to the US to implement some additional security for their power networks - if I took my laptop with all its restricted information with me and gave these numpties access, I would be in serious breach of the US's own laws on the subject and that data could then be sold on the black market for a tidy sum.

          End result: A higher chance of a successful attack on the US power network - fucking genius.

  15. Adam Trickett
    FAIL

    Even Americans can get deported

    I use to live in southern California nearly 20 years ago. Just north of San Diego there was a border check point on the interstate. A local from the near by military base went to visit his family in San Diego in uniform but was deported to Mexico while travelling back north back to his base because he didn't have his "passport" on him, he looked Mexican and had a Latino name. On being deported to a foreign country he then had to ring his commanding officer in the US to come and rescue him. It was all over the local news and it did annoy a lot of people, even then, but it's only got worse...

    I'm white, have a very English accent and I mostly had no problems then or since, except one time having the third degree from some jumped up no body in Texas. I said I'd never been treated so badly before and made some off-hand comment about a police state and the official backed down and apologised like there was no tomorrow. Ironically we were in a 10-tonne lorry and could have had a hundred Mexicans in the back - but it was cold, late, I didn't really want to open the back up and he was rude. If he had been polite I would have got out of the cab and showed him - we had nothing to hide, but he was so rude and officious I took offence....

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Even Americans can get deported

      "was deported to Mexico while travelling back north back to his base because he didn't have his "passport" on him, he looked Mexican and had a Latino name."

      Yes, they don't want those Latinos sneaking into places like El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Even Americans can get deported

      "A local from the near by military base went to visit his family in San Diego in uniform but was deported to Mexico while travelling back north back to his base because he didn't have his "passport" on him, he looked Mexican and had a Latino name. On being deported to a foreign country he then had to ring his commanding officer in the US to come and rescue him"

      So why did the Mexicans not just deport him back to the US?

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: Even Americans can get deported

        So why did the Mexicans not just deport him back to the US?

        He may have been deported to Mexico, but not over the Mexico immigration border control, which begins several miles beyond each Mexican border city. So Americans can simply walk into Tijuana, buy a belt, and walk back. The first time they're asked for documents is when they're returning to USA.

        The Soviets, for all their blemishes, had the passport / visa thing worked out properly in the 1980s. They did not put any stamp in your passport. The visa was a separate document. At one time, I thought that countries such as Israel did the same.

        My country issues 5-year passports. We get warned that other countries will not allow you to enter if your passport has 6 months or less validity. Is that nonsense, or are all passports only 90% passports?

        Some countries allow foreigners to hold passports if parents or grandparents were born in that country. I could hold one such passport, but then I'd have to file tax returns in that country (as well as in my own) so it is not worth it to me. I am one generation shy of being able to carry two other passports, and in neither case would the country be so invasive of my business. Close, no cigar. My wife could hold a passport from a fifth country, but I don't think I can too by virtue of being married to her. Aside from the embarrassment of holding a passport while being able to speak only about 5 words of the language.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even Americans can get deported

      > On being deported to a foreign country he then had to ring his commanding officer in the US to come and rescue him.

      Was he "Born In East L.A." ? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f37quWemJs)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even Americans can get deported

      > the official backed down and apologised like there was no tomorrow.

      For some reason it seems that, to American ears, an English accent confers a certain authority.

      I know because I'm Scottish. :(

      1. Melina1222

        Re: Even Americans can get deported

        Absolutely. My English husband turned on the accent when required. It made life a lot easier for him here in Murica.

  16. Baldy50

    Good article....

    Tah! BTW, Iain.

  17. Zmodem

    use KGB archiver

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/kgbarchiver/

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bah, nothing new...

    I'm no fan of Trump, but from I've been reading over the last several years, this pretty much started after 9/11. True he has added to the fire that's burning under civil liberties in the US, but he didn't light the match that set it ablaze.

    That was started and continued by his predecessors.

  19. joeldillon

    Why does the picture with this article show someone with a US passport? Those are about the only people who don't have to deal with this shit (for now).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @joeldillon

      > Those are about the only people who don't have to deal with this shit

      Exactly what part of "American-born NASA scientist Sidd Bikkannavar said he was stopped by border agents" did you not understand?

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      @joeldillon

      Because this article proves that even a US CITIZEN is not immune to this bullsh*t, and they are supposed to be pretty much immune to this. Clearly that's no longer the case (especially if your surname is not Trump, Pence, Priebus...)

    3. Melina1222
      Facepalm

      I'm in my 50s, Murican, white (mostly Scottish ancestry) and have always held a US passport. Here is some of the shit I've dealt with over the decades.

      No matter where I've been or where I'm going, if I'm traveling on my own internationally, I always get searched to bits. All single women are drug mules but I keep forgetting this. I eventually took evil delight in watching customs officers root through my dirty laundry.

      I got my worst grilling when entering the UK while in my 20s. Being a student makes you extremely suspicious, even if you're well stocked with traveler's checks. I eventually was awarded with a one month visitor's visa so wouldn't get too comfy.

      And I was held for hours in an Asian airport because, even though I had a residency visa and a residence, I didn't have a ticket out of the country. I didn't spot a single male of any color being stopped.

      My husband (who was English, tall, looked kind of like Edward Fox) eventually came in looking for me, started shouting when he found out what happened, and scared the crap out of just about everyone. I was escorted out about a minute later.

      These days I stick to Amtrak. I hope and pray the Cheeto Benito doesn't close that down as well.

  20. Christoph Silver badge

    "once an API is wired into a forensics tool, that one moment in time exposes all of your historical data to the border agent."

    And all the historical data of all your friends, including posts that they locked so that only their friends could see them.

  21. OchaiThenoo

    I had planned on an extended trip to the US this year to tick some boxes on the bucket list. I'll revisit Mexico and Canada and spend my money there instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't think it would stop me visiting - unless I was travelling with the kids due to the behaviour of the TSA arseholes and their sex offender styled toddler pat-downs - I'd just be careful what i took.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "'ll revisit Mexico and Canada and spend my money there instead."

      You do understand that Mexico has Napoleonic law, don't you? That is to say, you are guilty until proven innocent and plenty of the street crime is perpetrated by the police themselves.

      Funny that all of the Hollywood actors that threatened to leave the US if Trump won the presidency didn't mention heading for Mexico. They didn't renounce their citizenship and move anywhere for that matter and I was so hopeful there for a while.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        hat is to say, you are guilty until proven innocent and plenty of the street crime is perpetrated by the police themselves.

        And that differs from the US how?

        Oh yes, with the US, things that are not a crime in either country will still get severe interference in another nation's affairs and attempts to extradite their citizens based on weakly alleged infractions against US companies. With a likelihood that you'll disappear once in US hands, never to get a trial, never to be formerly charged, never to see daylight again.

  22. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Go

    Opportunities?

    This kind of security is incredibly expensive to do at scale (the state within the state is one of the things that bankrupted the Soviet Union). So, even if the CBP can get enough staff to cope, big if, it won't be long before economics dictate that they do less strict checks and use less well-paid people and contractors wherever possible; as happened in Europe with all the security theatre at the airports. This is a smugglers dream: low-paid security bods, cleaners and catering staff off multiple new and safer routes around the surveillance because quis custodet custodes? Time to start buying shares in M.A.F.I.A. ! ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opportunities?

      > as happened in Europe with all the security theatre at the airports

      Bit of trivia: sneaking past "security checkpoints" as a non-traveller is easier and quicker than going through them as a bona fide passenger.

  23. jason 7

    Cheap Chromebook...

    ...with a fresh account of ghg56445fgdfg@gmail.com on it.

    Login with your real one later and powerwash before coming home.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheap Chromebook...

      I'd take the approach of buying a cheap chromebook once inside the US , from a store picked at random, and bought in cash (some great deals). You get one 'free' email/IT-transaction before the NSA have got you! (but that's their job, so no problem with that)

      Look, America has hundreds of millions of great people, very interesting places, things to see & do, it's worth the trip - tho' I haven't been for a few decades (for all the above reasons!). I always preferred entering through Hawaii, where CBP were the nicest border force you can imagine. Must be the vitamin 'D'?

      1. jason 7

        Re: Cheap Chromebook...

        My gf whilst British is also a ex US Greencard holder. We last went to the US in 2002. This was a year after she came back to the UK (cos she missed me awww). So she had to go to the Greencard queue.

        Lo and behold I went straight through immigration but my Gf got taken aside for interview. I was left wondering if I was to spend a week in Vegas on my own (hmmm). Anyway I see a guy go in and speak to my Gf for a few minutes. A bit of pointing and giggles and she if stamped in and we both go on through.

        I ask what the Immigration guy asked her.

        "Oh he asked me which immigration guy told me I had to come for an interview so I pointed him out!"

        The Immigration guy then apparently said "Oh that one? The one that looks like he hasn't been laid in months?"

        To which my GF giggled and said yes. The guy said "Okay you are free to carry on with your vacation!"

  24. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Living north of the 52nd, having been *born* in the good ole USA, and having rather more than a few relatives south of me, having taken out Canadian citizenship a *long* time ago.

    There was a time when I needed only my drivers license to travel anywhere (Mexico, most of the Caribbean, US). Those days, most anywhere I went, having a Canadian Citizenship card and a valid Ontario drivers license made the border folks *happy* to see me, and wave me through. This was most telling in one case in the Dominican Republic, when the flight picked up in T.O., Buffalo and somewhere in South Carolina. We Canadians were pretty much *all* sat waiting in the tour buses waiting for the Americans to clear DR Customs. I'm *not* 100% sure where the three US fellows that our bus waited.... I recall almost an hour... for were from, but the *reason* we ended up waiting *I'm* quite certain, was due to the way they were communicating with the DR border folks. All of whom clearly spoke very very good english.

    I'm not absolutely certain, but I DO know that the US Border patrol have been *jackasses* as a whole for a *very* long time. Yes, there are plenty of border officers who are quite good at their jobs, and mostly do it well. But there are a CRAPTON that seem to think (not just now, but have for a long time) that they are Special Agent Number Nine, and the only reason that the USA is still standing. < There was a period when I learned to drive 18spd double split >

    The changes since the Patriot Act was enabled have left the US border patrol *run* by Special Agent Number Nines. And the few that actually managed to do the job well and gracefully have been mowed down by paranoid fanatics.

    Which is interesting since they insist that all terrorists are paranoid fanatics.

  25. js1592

    Reasonable Suspicion != Probable Cause

    If you're going to fear-monger the world, at least get our legal terms right, please.

  26. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I've found US border personnel to be generally grumpy and awkward. The nicest customs staff I met were in Turkey, when I was trying to import a large laser printer, and they weren't having any of it. I had to arrange for an import agent to help with the paperwork, but the customs staff were all really pleasant, and kept making me cups of coffee and apple tea. That was in 1996 or so.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was 'refused entry' to the US back in '92

    I walked out over the 'Peace Bridge' from the Canadian side at Niagara Falls.

    Not being Canadian or American, I got stopped at the US side and detained as I no longer had my I94 form in my passport.

    Two hours later I was 'refused entry'. I paid my quarter in the turnstile and re-entered Canada a free man.

    Haven't been back since. I'm probably on a watch list.

    *Best quarter I ever spent.

  28. Moonunit

    Merkins and Munchkins

    Hmmm ... I come from a former "Pariah State", and have (happily) never had grief from Merkin CBP dudes when entering the US. The advice to ALWAYS remain polite and to refrain from ad hominem goads to (usually) underpaid and unertrained CBP guys is indeed very, very good advice.

    The only semi run-in I ever had was on trying to exit the US at SFO in 1997 ... triggered by an airline dude who did not recognise my residence visa for the UK. Cue over-zealous junior CBP dude ... etc etc ... situation defused by senior CBP officer who slapped junior silly (well, verbally) and waved me on.

    I am not a fan of The Donald's approach ... but would suggest that people also consider that not all Merkins are Donald J Trump. Or Sean Spicer or ... There are awesome Merkins, and depressingly crude and dim ones. Same as many places. May be more constructive to visit and commune with the natives than not. But that is only my surmised point of view.

    Not conflating the nation, it's leader. the broad populace etc is hard to do, but generally also quite a good idea.

    OK, now to hide under ma' rock again!

  29. LoPath

    I remember back in the day... back before 9/11... one of my "additional duties" was to be a classified courier. Even had a letter saying what I was carrying was exempt from inspection. Most airport cops didn't appreciate it. I can't fathom the amount of lube that would be required to do that job now!

    1. kmac499

      ""I remember back in the day... back before 9/11... one of my "additional duties" was to be a classified courier. Even had a letter saying what I was carrying was exempt from inspection. Most airport cops didn't appreciate it. I can't fathom the amount of lube that would be required to do that job now!""

      Lube!! I thought classified couriers were equipped with briefcases and a single handcuff,,

      "Right Perkins we have a very large, very important parcel for you to take a very long way"

      "Yes sir <gulp>"

  30. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Hail, hail Freedonia! Land of the brave and free!

  31. creepy gecko
    FAIL

    Trumpland...

    Donald seems to be doing everything in his power to create a USA which is no longer a popular tourist destination.

    My family & I have already decided not to take holidays in the USA in future. I'm sure we're not the only group of people to have taken that decision.

    I'd love to see the tourist figures for the USA for 2017 in comparison with previous years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trumpland...

      Good - shorter lines at Disney for the rest of us!

    2. Andy Non
      FAIL

      Re: Trumpland...

      Agreed. I've crossed the USA off my list of holiday destinations. The border controls are bonkers. There was something on the BBC the other day about a family who went on holiday there who's ten year old (white) son (with an English name) was refused entry to the USA because his name was on their watch list. Maybe the kid was a secret ISIS terrorist? /sarcasm. The family had to return to the UK and got no refund on their holiday. The family got no explanation other than the fact the kids name was on their watch list. If they block people solely because they share the name of someone on their list, then all I can say if f**k the USA as a holiday destination - there is no telling if or how much they could screw you over when attempting entry. What a half-assed system, to block people just on the basis of their name irrespective of their age, nationality etc.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Trumpland...

        To be fair though, the whole "you're on our watch list, so forget about flying to Disneyworld" thing dates back through the Obama and Bush the Younger administrations. My brother-in-law's last name is Collins, his first name is even more generic than that. He got on the watch list because some suspected or actual terrorist used his name, and probably doomed 100K+ American men to extra scrutiny and having to document that "Honest, it wasn't me!" with that one act.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Trumpland...

          And for that you get to apply to the CBP/DHS for a free pass (i.e. travel clearance). Fun and games!

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Name on Watchlist.

        This must be BS because it would have been flagged up on the ESTA application.

        There's more to that story.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Trumpland...

        "There was something on the BBC the other day about a family who went on holiday there who's ten year old (white) son (with an English name) was refused entry to the USA because his name was on their watch list"

        I think mine is due to the US copying lists of suspected IRA terrorists and the like which given that many in the US are descended from and bear names from the UK, there is a shipload of random people on the list. Every segment of every flight I have taken in the last many years, I have been "Randomly Selected" for extra "Screening" with only one exception. I take the train or drive these days. If the TSA used attractive ladies for the "search", I might not be as repulsed. I've come that close to stripping down like a few people that have passed that point.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Trumpland...

      If you hail from a country where the citizens routinely shout "Death to the Americans" in the streets, we invite you to stay home. Else if, come on in and we'll be happy to share a cuppa with you.

  32. User McUser
    Devil

    Tapes?

    The CBP told The Register it reserves the right to check "computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players, and any other electronic or digital devices."

    Oh my, you can have fun* with this!

    Step 1: Procure as many QIC-80 tapes (or whatever your favorite obsolete tape backup format is) as you can via eBay and the like. Make sure you have enough to catch CBP's attention but still fit easily in your carry-on baggage.

    Step 2: Bulk erase said tapes with a very strong magnet. Really scramble that rust.

    Step 3: Enter America; when asked "what's on the tapes?" look around nervously and then say "Nothing... Why?"

    Step 4: Laugh your ass off as they cart them off to be "inspected" at Uncle Sam's expense.

    *Fun levels may vary inversely with melanin levels.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Tapes?

      Really User Mc User?

      While they are inspecting them at Uncle Sam's expense, you are waiting and if it takes them days, you wait for days before they grant you entry.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Tapes?

        Most of the time they just take your stuff and let you go. If you are lucky, you might get it back in six months. If you are really lucky, it will still have a hard drive and will be operational.

        The tape idea is great. Give them something to find as a bit of misdirection while your real data is on something small disguised as something innocuous.

  33. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    attention CBP: don't let me in to your stinking country. tia.

  34. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Wearing a "Make America Great Again" ballcap couldn't hurt either :)

    When approaching your enemy, it is best to disguise yourself as him!

    "even Canadians, have been stopped."

    Just as well we keep the perfidious Canucks out! Canadians only come down here to crow about their cheap healthcare, and then indirectly complain about expensive everything else by going on shopping sprees in U.S. stores and sneaking their loot back across the border. Seriously, Canadian beer is cheaper in the U.S. than it is in Canada!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Wearing a "Make America Great Again" ballcap couldn't hurt either :)

      "Seriously, Canadian beer is cheaper in the U.S. than it is in Canada!"

      And healthcare is available when you need it even if you DO have to pay for it.

  35. Ian Emery Silver badge

    I'm more relaxed visiting China than the US (or Russia)

    The one time they asked to check my bag, they were so apologetic, I think the gitl might have cried if I'd said "no".

    Apparently, I had set the chemical explosives detector off - cheese smuggling will do that.

    They didnt find the cheese, but sadly, even the air conditioning wasnt enough to stop it melting before I reached the safety of my hotel room.

    I got stopped on the way out of the UK on the same trip; although they were more interested in what (on the X-Ray machine), looked like a bomb in my bag.

    26 packets of Hobnobs, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, and original.

    Well, it was for a rather long stay.

    1. Vinyl-Junkie
      Mushroom

      Re: I'm more relaxed visiting China than the US (or Russia)

      "I got stopped on the way out of the UK on the same trip; although they were more interested in what (on the X-Ray machine), looked like a bomb in my bag."

      Never underestimate the probability of random reorganisation of your bag producing a "bomb"! I once went through an x-ray scanner where my sister worked in order to meet up with her prior to staying with her and my brother-in-law for the weekend. Imagine my embarrassment when the image of the rucksack I was carrying clearly showed an electronic circuit overlaying two metal cylinders! I opened the bag under the close supervision of a couple of armed security police (this was pre-suicide bomber days) to reveal that my Walkman Pro (somewhat larger than a standard one, and with a very tightly packed PCB) had settled on top of my anti-perspirant and shaving foam cans.

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: I'm more relaxed visiting China than the US (or Russia)

        The story of the ersatz "bomb" caused me to remember way back, in the glory days of travel, I often used to carry a chess clock. By securing the levers, I could make it not tick, but even then it always attracted the attention of airport security x-ray machines. If it did not, that meant that the agent was sleeping. Putting an analogue chess clock in checked (ha ha) luggage was always safe, but I doubt it would be now. I wonder what US border agents do with today's digital chess clocks. They are little programmable computers, but don't contain data in any meaningful way, don't have passwords etc etc. Would you like to have a game of chess, Dave?

    2. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: I'm more relaxed visiting China than the US (or Russia)

      In Canada, airport sniffer dogs are beagles. Cheese is expensive in Canada (because eggs and dairy are supported through quotas etc which I favour, but still it's great to have imported cheese). Before a visit to the UK, I discovered to my surprise that it (was) legal to import cheese from the UK (despite quotas and BSE), so I bought a few # of delicious Stilton from a random supermarket, paying less than half what it would cost in Canada, and brought it home. I declared the cheese to the customs agent, and was sent to the inspection room. The beagle came up and politely (after all, it was a Canadian beagle) sat next to my luggage. So then I took all the Stilton out of my luggage and they tried again. The beagle again came up to me, sat next to my luggage, and looked with those sad eyes at its master. I think by that stage they realized that they weren't going to get any useful work out of the beagle until my Stilton, and anything it had touched, was long moved into another part of the air terminal.

      In 2009, the last time I did US-involved travelling, US border agents had no interest in computers. Airport security would sometimes ask you to power up a laptop to make sure it wasn't an obomba. Canadian airport security did similar. In fact, Canadian airport security was more interested in computers. They would sometimes swab the keyboard, and put said swab in a gizmo, presumably for explosive residue. US airport security did not do that.

      The whole body scan thing put a damper on my travel enthusiasm. It's tricky (tendentious?) to blame sh¡t on a particular Prez. When the colour of the White House goes from one primary to another (but never G), I feel confident that the outgoing Prez puts in motion changes that the electorate will blame on the new Prez. Despite the moronic lists of names that contain no other data, those Americans, or some of them, can be clever.

  36. The Purple Dinosaur

    Not right, but not that strange either

    I'm not saying this is right but do you really think the UK, or Germany, or France, or Australia or many other countries are any different in their immigration laws?

    USA is getting bad press due to a child who shouldn't be in charge is sharp objects, is actually in charge of the Big Red Button. However, the immigration laws, stop-n-search and data protection are pretty much in line with most other countries, western, middle eastern and asian.

    It's is very bad and not right, but there are a lot of good countries that still judge people based on race, creed and colour (or color!!). Immigration even more so. Profiling is a huge part of border detection. USA, among others, have mastered this to an art form.

    Sometimes profiling is scientific, data based and generally accurate....other times it is what one racist person decides at that moment, for no other reason than they don't like what you look like. Sucks!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Not right, but not that strange either

      Not sure even the UK would stop and search a UK citizen, and seize his phone, for being of vaguely Middle Eastern descent. (See the opening example in the article.)

      C.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Not right, but not that strange either

        "Not sure even the UK would stop and search a UK citizen"

        mmhm... I see...

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/28/uk-police-terrorism-act-newsnight-journalist-secunder-kermani-laptop

        1. AndyD 8-)&#8377;

          Re: Not right, but not that strange either

          https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/28/uk-police-terrorism-act-newsnight-journalist-secunder-kermani-laptop

          "Police sought the order to read communications between Kermani and a man in Syria who had publicly identified himself as a member of Islamic State"

          - 'fraid I don't have any problem with that!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not right, but not that strange either

      "Profiling is a huge part of border detection. USA, among others, have mastered this to an art form."

      Citation required.

      1. Trixr Bronze badge

        Re: Not right, but not that strange either

        Yes. the profiling is so advanced that when my Buddhist Sri Lankan-born boss and her similarly-spec'd hubby travelled to the US during the Bush II years, on their Australian passports (being citizens for 30+ years), they were stopped and searched - at length, the "please step into this room" treatment - at every single US airport they transited through on their journey.

        No criminal record, no military service in birth or residence countries, no visas to China, Russia, Cuba, Middle-East nations yadda yadda in their passports, no ticking luggage, and the purpose of their two-week visit was to attend an academic conference at Georgetown University and see family members in two other cities.

        There may be things you could say about what Sri Lankans of the military persuasion do to Tamils in that country, but as far as I know, the yanks have never been that fussed about that. Buddhists aren't really that renowned for their suicide bombings or jihads at the best of times.

        Of course, they did fit the advanced profile of being suspiciously brown in skin tone. And sure, it seems that the US border guards are improving their detection rate based on such techniques by exponential rates at present.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Not right, but not that strange either

        ""Profiling is a huge part of border detection. USA, among others, have mastered this to an art form."

        Citation required."

        See http://imgur.com/akyHXha

    3. Truckle The Uncivil

      Re: Not right, but not that strange either

      @The Purple Dinosaur

      The last time I visited the UK I happened to accidentally flash an expired passport (of a shape no longer issued) while I waited in the queue to present my documents. I was approached and someone asked to inspect it. I explained it was expired and although they had the right to ask me to surrender it that I would like to retain it for sentimental reasons. They said they just wanted to look at it. They turned to the page where it said I had the right of residence in the United Kingdom, handed it back to me and said that an Englishman does not require a passport to re-enter England and pointed me to the exit (bypassing queue). On return to Australia they wanted to know where the fuck I had been as no country stamped my passport in all the time I was away. They asked me politely to "please get your Aussie passport stamped next time".

      So, yeah, I do think (and have experienced) differences in two of those countries at least - UK and Australia. I actually did travel in and about in France and Germany also but no one ever asked for any papers anywhere. So, wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Four cases, four fails.

      So, it really, really is different. And I still have the documents in my drawer to prove it.

  37. Herby Silver badge

    Absolute power...

    Corrupts Absolutely.

    The problem is that the CBP agents aren't given enough training and are "just following the manual" when they visit upon you their terrible wrath. You see, in order to be "fair" they need to treat everyone "alike" and the manual makes no leeway for anything. I have been wanting to build up a nice wooden mock-up of an iPhone with a proper picture on it, just to see what they think of it. You can easily put it in one of the non-skid sleeves (I have one on my phone now) and it would be very convincing to show. They would have a terrible time trying to get it it open up. I would love to see their faces when they try to make a forensic copy.

    Of course I am an American citizen and haven't had much a problem entering the USA even when I came back in December of 2001. That was a nice flight, as there weren't too many people on it at the time. Life goes on, and I do hope that CBP gets some common sense and understands the minutia of digital devices. If you really want to smuggle things in, a 64Gbyte micro SD card is pretty easy to conceal these days. You could put it under a postage stamp quite easily, and not be detected.

    Of course, does CBP look at posts to ElReg to find out if I should be "inspected"? Time will tell.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Absolute power...

      I've seen articles about 2TB+ thumb drives. A little harder to put under a stamp, but it goes to show how much data can be put on a fairly small device.

  38. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I used to immigrate at JFK twice a year in the 1980s, usually around 9pm on a Sunday, and could pretty much write the script from memory.

    "So you are a computer programmer?"

    "Database Administrator, but close enough."

    "What sort of computers do you program?"

    "Univacs. Mainframes. Room fillers."

    "So, should I sell my IBM stock?"

    "How should I know? I'm a computer programmer, not a stockbroker."

    Then there was the guy at customs who would be in a sour mood and ready to bust balls. One night as I was getting ready for the case search a planeload of Iranians came through. I've never been cleared so quickly before or since. He all but threw me through the gate so he could get his fair share of people in pointy slippers and kaftans.

    1. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: Bah!

      Similar experience at LAX when an Air Mexico flight landed just as I was approaching immigration. Rushed through so they could all go off and do cavity searches. My mate who lived there reckoned I'd broken all records for clearing C&I at LAX!

  39. david 12 Bronze badge

    >if there's an outstanding warrant out on you, expect to be collared <

    Or if there is an outstanding warrant against somebody with the same name. (And being white is no protection.)

    Also, be warned that having no devices and no social media is /also/ suspicious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: >if there's an outstanding warrant out on you, expect to be collared <

      Hmmm,ok

      I have no social media accounts.

      Better set up a Twitter account.

      - with a single tweet: "Make America Great Again"

      - following: @realdonaldtrump

  40. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    They are not checking finger prints...

    ....they are checking hand sizes!

    Anyone found to have hands larger than 'dainty' is refused entry, with prejudice.

  41. DrM
    FAIL

    Graybar Motel

    I believe the UK is still the place with people sitting in jail because they won't give up their password?

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Haefen

    [i]"Like a police officer, a US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime or immigration violation is being committed, before seizing and searching devices and possessions. "[/i]

    Stopped reading after that. It would take very little research to discover that is not the case. Anyone thinking that while stranded in the no mans land of a border cell is in for some real pain.

  45. Baldy50

    Sorry again, can't help myself.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/14/daniel-ramirez-illegal-immigrant-dreamer-arrest-sp/

  46. Potemkine Silver badge
  47. Archie1954

    Honestly why would anyone other than an American citizen, want to enter the US? It just isn't worth it!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's just get the Horse in front of the Wagon again..!

    The Uncouth Simpleton Aggressors are not anyones ally, but everybody's bully…

    The Big ZOG does not have friends, only henchmen!

    The Islam trouble is caused by the zionists stealing part of the arabs land, islam is only an excuse for an uprising. The US are keeping the pot boiling, and since the last sixty years refuse to understand that Stability is MUCH more important than Democracy!

    To solve a problem, you must also fight the Cause of the it, not just the Excuse, because as long as the Cause(Israel and various ZOGs) continues to exist, there can always be found another Excuse..

    Disclaimer: I do not in any way sympathise with murderous degenerates, I'm a Nordic WASP, but I am still able to see where the trouble is actually coming from, and that the arabs didn't start it...

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Let's just get the Horse in front of the Wagon again..!

      "I am still able to see where the trouble is actually coming from, and that the arabs didn't start it..."

      Quite. Many of the previous Israeli Prime Ministers have been well known as terrorists first...

  49. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Your life in your pocket

    It's frightening how much sensitive data that people walk around with on devices that are easily stolen, lost or confiscated. In decades past, if somebody picked your pocket or demanded you forked over a wallet or purse, they could get away with whatever amount of cash you had and that was pretty much it except for the hassle of having to get replacement ID, etc. These days people walk around with all of their banking information for not only their checking and savings accounts, but brokerage accounts and retirement funds along side of all the information somebody would need to create access to those accounts. Think about how hard it would be to figure out how to put stops on accounts if your phone/laptop/tablet were stolen while on vacation/business in a foreign country. Hopefully, you have your credit card information written down in a separate location along with direct phone numbers (toll-free numbers aren't universal) so you have the possibility of canceling them and getting a replacement while abroad.

    Just like iTunes lets you make different playlists that you can sync to your iDevice, the same thing can be done with other mobile devices. Create different phone number lists for everyday and travel. Put your sensitive data on an external drive that you keep at home. Be aware of what might be considered pornography in different parts of the world if you travel. The cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is pornography in certain countries (it's not hard to make a list). Certain "R" rated movies will be classified in the same way. Articles or writings about politics and religion are often banned by the more extreme forms of "government".

    If you travel a lot, get a separate laptop/tablet that is stripped down to the essentials. Access to your retirement accounts is not essential. Pictures of your young children frolicking in the lake last summer holiday with no swimsuits on may get you the death penalty in some quarters. Ask yourself if you really need a file or application when you load up the drive/storage. Do the same thing for any device that you tote around when in your own country too. There is no law in the US that prevents an officer from asking to look at your electronic device. If you agree and hand it over, that's a voluntary act when they may have to get a warrant to make it a demand.

    If you have to travel with sensitive company information, put it on SIM card or other easy to conceal device and stick it to your shin under a bandage. For an extra bit of camouflage, put a drop of iodine on the bandage so it really looks the part. Mix applications and devices so one has to be plugged into the other to do any good.

    Convenience and security have a tendency to be the inverse of each other. An app that makes it more convenient to access money probably means those funds are less secure. When I travel by car, I always have cash to pay for fuel to get me home or at least a full tank or two just in case. I've pulled into several stations in the last six months to find that their credit/debit system is not working. This will be almost guaranteed in the case of a hurricane, earthquake or other natural calamity. Sticking with cash for many purchases also puts a limit on impulse buying.

    Singling out the US is counterproductive. The travel ban (if you take the time to read it) is not about religion, but about restricting travel by people from countries where most of the citizens love to take to the streets and shout "Death to the Americans". Not exactly the sort you want to invite over with a guilt edged invitation. Many countries are trying to look like they are doing something to prevent terrorism and the efforts so far have been right on the mark… They are doing things that LOOK like they are preventing terrorism. The game is afoot. Understand the rules and develop tactics to stay one (or several) steps ahead and there won't be bars on your windows and doors that lock from the outside only in your future. Even if you don't think you have any secrets (lucky you) there are lots of things you should keep private.

  50. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The Cloud

    Go ahead and access a Cloud account while in a country that uses lots of surveillance. The reason that they didn't scan your devices coming in is they will do it remotely where you aren't holding up the line.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using a travel phone

    Has anyone here gone through the US border recently with a voice and text only travel phone, leaving their smart phone at home please? I heard they turned a Canadian guy away because he'd factory reset his phone. How do they react to anyone who has left their smart phone at home, particularly if their social media accounts are set to 2 factor authentication so the password can't be used without the phone you don't have.

    Thanks.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone gets worked up by this shit. Chill and do what your asked, you'll fly through the process. Needless to say, if you are holding data on a device connected to armed resistance or setting up a coup to install Sharia law the process might be a bit slower.

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