Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Traveling with electronics-part 2: Security

Several years  ago my wife ran a conference of Immunologists. One of the visitors was on her way from her lab in the UK and she was stopped at UK boarder control. Seems her laptop tested positive for nitrates (they use them in the lab) even though she had been real careful to keep this laptop out of the lab so it would be clean. They wanted to hold her laptop and send it to her, but as it was to be a short trip she told them to hold it for her return. Then came the clincher, she had to tell them that they could not look at the data as it had confidential patient data protected under UK law.
Now the rest of us are not protected under such laws, and need to worry what happens if a boarder agent demands your password to check your device (phone, laptop, etc.)

  for Zero Day has a nice article on ZDnet with the title If security wants your password: Privacy for travelers with digital devices

In it she points out that:

Anyone who travels with laptops, phones and tablets should know what to do if security asks for their password, an agent asks to see what's on their phone, and how to protect sensitive or private information if their gadget gets out of their hands.

 She references material from the EFF that everyone should read about basic precautions, how the government searches devices, how (and when) to protect your data, encryption and good passwords, border agent demands, and more.
On the EFF's Travel Screening page, they cover the basics on border search, and travel 'blacklists' such as the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System.
  •   Supplemental, regarding American police and digital devices: Know Your Rights (
 Post image: "I do not consent to the search of this device" sticker, from the EFF shop. A great stocking stuffer!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Airline experinces

Just read an interesting post from Fred Wilson about favorite airlines.

Although the actual blog post is more of a question and a description, the comments are really useful and I recommend reading them.

The blog is titled Fun Friday: Favorite Airline I strongly recommend you go read the comments for insight from serious road warriors.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Be wary of places about which Trip Advisor no information

When you travel it is always a good idea, use sites like TripAdvisor to reviews of a place and the CIA World Fact Book for other useful details.

Otherwise you can end up with an unhappy trip like the Mar Curiosity Rover:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

New (Zealand) take on those boring safety films

Anyone that has flown knows that they always give a safety briefing at the beginning of the flight. Now I have always figured that the timing is a bit off for some of it, like after they come and check that everyone has their seat belt on they demonstrate how the seat belt works.

I have even seen cases where the video presented was not the one for the plane I was on, but a sister model or older interior. In one case I had to point out that the video said that lights and call button were on the ceiling, but they were on the seat back  monitor.

But the people at Air New Zealand - the official airline of Middle Earth, mind you - has released a new Hobbit-themed in-flight safety video.

Thanks to neatorama for pointing it out at