Monday, September 15, 2008

DHS Report Says 'Leave Laptops At Home'

Thomas Claburn writes on InformationWeek:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security appears to be of two minds about the security of information on portable devices.

On the one hand, it defends border searches of laptops as necessary to limit the movements of terrorists, to deter child pornography, and to enforce U.S. laws.

"One of our most important enforcement tools in this regard is our ability to search information contained in electronic devices, including laptops and other digital devices, for violations of U.S. law, including potential threats," said Jayson Ahern, deputy commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in an online post in June.

On the other hand, it has warned business and government travelers not to carry laptops or other electronic devices when traveling abroad, as a way to prevent "unauthorized access and theft of data by criminal and foreign government elements."

In a document titled "Foreign Travel Threat Assessment: Electronic Communications Vulnerabilities," [.pdf] published June 10 by the DHS's critical infrastructure threat analysis division and recently posted to Wikileaks, DHS urges business leaders and U.S. officials to "leave [electronic devices] at home" when traveling.

More here.


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