Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seizure of Laptops and Electronics devices across Borders

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO) alerts their company-sponsored travelers that their laptops and other electronic devices (such as Blackberries, iPhones, iPods, flash drives and cameras) can be seized and their information downloaded by the Customs officials while crossing borders without explanation or provocation. This includes personal photographs, personal banking, any business documents, and stored or unopened e-mail.

Therefore, everyone should adopt the following measures while traveling out of Saudi Arabia:

• Carry a laptop or electronic device you can afford to lose.
• Carry only limited or no proprietary business information or personnel records regarding your employer, and/or employees.
• Limit your personal information on any computer used for travel
o No personal banking information
o No personal photographs that you wouldn't want made public
o No personal correspondence that you wouldn't want made public
o No personal health information
o No password information of any kind
• Email sensitive data ahead of time (before crossing a border) so it is not lost if the computer is seized.
• Ask for a receipt and a badge number of the individual taking your laptop or electronic device if your equipment is seized.
• Cooperate with Customs and Border Protection officers.

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