Traveling International? Privacy Fears? Consider the Cloud
The VAR Guy gets around the globe from time to time, and what blogger-at-large is good without his trusty laptop? But a recent New York Times article piqued The VAR Guy’s interest. The article, “Can You Frisk a Hard Drive?” discussed digital strip searches at U.S. borders. Luckily for us, there’s the cloud.
The article discusses not only what border agents can do with your computer, it also details to what extent they can do it. Depending on how much suspicion you create, agents can dig through your hard drive and even keep your laptop for an extended period.
It’s a gray area — some see it as akin to someone digging through their bedroom, while others see it as an extension of their luggage. Many times the targets of digital searches are suspected of something nefarious, but sometimes the searches are random. So, what about people like The VAR Guy, who not only has photos of Mrs. VAR Guy and the Little VAR Guys on his hard drive but also private e-mail industry contacts and hot tips ready to be blogged? The VAR Guy wouldn’t want that confidential information to fall into the hands of anyone — not even Homeland Security.
The solution to this issue may be as simple as shoving everything into the cloud before jet-setting, regardless of whether the information is sensitive, and then securely deleting that information from your hard drive. The VAR Guy isn’t condoning anything illegal — and he certainly wouldn’t want to be a party to technological misdeeds in the cloud; he’s just pointing out that the cloud can be a useful tool for storing information and keeping your hard drive clean as a whistle. Plus, should you find yourself without your laptop, you can still get to your files and, like our resident blogger, keep up the pace no matter what the circumstance.
What’s more, The VAR Guy thinks encryption is a good plan, too. Not the entire drive, just certain sections. Some encryption software even enables users to create a ‘false bottom’ hard drive (e.g. the drive looks clean, until after decryption, when files/folders are then available that weren’t previously). According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, border agents cannot force detainees to give up their encryption passwords, but they should expect to be without their laptop for a long while.
The VAR Guy believes the right to privacy is important, as is the right to be able to blog constantly. Has The VAR Guy opened a can of worms with this latest issue, or has he uncovered a new revenue stream for the channel?