Laptops and Cross-Border Security

An article in today’s Washington Post addresses a number of instances in which U.S. border security personnel have invaded the privacy of traveller’s laptops, requiring them in some cases to yield their ID’s and passwords and in some cases confiscating the equipment. The people whose computers have been the subject of American interference are described by the author of the article as typical business travellers.

I believe it would make sense for other Canadian law firms to do as Blaney McMurtry LLP has done and travel across the U.S. border with completely clean, i.e. empty, laptops. Lou Brzezinski of Blaney McMurtry was quoted in the piece as saying:

We just access our information through the Internet…[which only exposes us to] hacking risks as opposed to search risks.

It would probably make even more sense not to carry a laptop at all and to buy or borrow one at the destination. BlackBerrys are a problem, of course, because I can’t see lawyers letting these babies go — even though they are the portals to a great mine of client data.

Does your firm go South? What does it do about security when the data all goes south?

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