Monday, October 27, 2008

Traveling with a work laptop (not a lap dog!) What are the rules?

Susan Harkins has an interesting piece today on Tech Republic about how to travel with a laptop computer, especially a work laptop. It is called “Seven rules for flying with a laptop: share these tips with clients,” link here.

I can remember the days when you had to start your laptop in the airport security line, which meant that you took the trouble to make sure that the battery had been fully charged. Now the technique is to swab for plastic explosives, which is done with almost all devices.

It’s important to remember is that, in TSA security or at border checkpoints, “you have no rights regarding your laptop.” A government can seize it without giving reason. Apparently this usually applies to international fights (or to driving across a border). The last time I had a laptop of my own was in Canada, Labor Day weekend, 2001. I still remember reading a bizarre email in the motel room in Thunder Bay and deleting it, thinking it was spam. In retrospect, I’m not so sure.

Your laptop is a carry-on item. It is not a good idea to pack it in luggage.

The concerns are greater today because sensitive data can be lost. Employers should have policies regarding what information may be on company laptops that are taken on business trips.

A good question would be, at which border crossings in Europe on train do you need to be concerned about a laptop? Presumably not within the EU. What about when traveling to Russia or through former Soviet republics? That would make another good article.

What happens when traveling in the middle East? Is there a problem if you visit Egypt and Israel on the same trip? What are the practices of destinations like Dubai? That would also make a good story.

It sure is easier today if your job does not require travel (particularly international travel). If you have a job at all. A laptop is not a lap dog!

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