Traveling for the holidays is a good reason to familiarize yourself with protecting your privacy and data while traveling with digital devices, and knowing what security agents can - and can't - do to your devices when you travel.
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.
Traveling abroad is where egregious digital privacy invasions occur: U.S. border agents can legally search your laptop or other digital device and copy the contents, as well as confiscate devices.
Border agents can do all of this without suspicion or a warrant. And in my opinion, it shouldn't be allowable.
The EFF has been fighting these serious violations of privacy for years, and have put together a few excellent primers on your rights, making backups and encryption, passwords, deciding when and how to fight agent demands, and what to expect if your device gets confiscated.
Even if you think you're not a troublemaker, or don't have anything interesting enough for agents to care about, you should think twice about letting agents search your digital device.
Do you really want strangers looking at your personal communications, photos, business plans or information, contact information for loved ones... and if they copy it, how do you know their database won't get hacked?
Protecting your digital privacy from search without oversight or accountability from authorities isn't just reasonable, it's becoming necessary.
The EFF has a few excellent posts you need to read before you pack.