Today, as part of my departmental monthly newsletter, I received a note about the Department of Homeland Security. If you were unaware, over the past few months, DHS has been empowered to review, copy, or straight out withhold any electronic equipment (think laptops, external drives, iphones, cell phones, etc.) on your way through the border. See this article in the Washington Post.
Apparently, a few researchers at UVic have lost data and hardware going through the border, never to see either again. I’ve heard horror stories of PhD students losing their laptops and not having backed up their data, their theses too.
To be honest, I have no reason to travel to the United States anymore. Nada. If there’s a conference there, sorry – I’ll stay home and wait for next year’s in Buenos Aires or Nice or Prague. Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to visit a number of cities in the US – New York, Boston, Philidelphia, Chicago, San Francisco. If I do visit, I won’t be bringing any data with me, or even my camera (bye bye photos).
In short, you can’t have my data USG. It’s mine. Or rather, it’s the Canadian public’s, that is until it’s published. Then it belongs to the publisher.