Academic conferences, research or service-learning projects are an exciting prospect, but, it is important to understand a few things about traveling internationally with electronic devices before you leave.
Because laptops and other portable storage devices (i.e. PDAs, cell phones, USB drives, CDs/DVDs, etc.) may contain sensitive information, all University of Idaho employees are asked to implement precautionary measures. If your University job function requires access to sensitive personal information (SPI), and you need to transport that information on a mobile computing or storage device, the University’s Information Technology Services team can assist you with protection advice or assistance.
For those employees traveling outside the country including Canada and Mexico we recommend that you professionally delete any Sensitive Personal Information or confidential data stored on your portable device leaving from and returning to the country. On the whole, you should encounter few delays; however, in some cases your computer may be held for the duration of your visit before being returned or it may be confiscated. Also note that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. border agents may obtain access to anything on your mobile devices, including making copies of the contents of your hard-drive or retaining your equipment or software for detailed inspections.
The University of Idaho Administrative Procedures Manual states all users who work with sensitive personal information (a persons name in combination with a social security number; drivers license or other Idaho identification card number; or account number, or credit or debit card number) must store such information at all times on an ITS-managed network drive, and shall not store any sensitive personal information on a computer hard drive or portable storage device, unless such storage has been authorized by ITS, and is adequately encrypted. Other protected information might include student grades, medical information, etc. All faculty and staff are encouraged to review the APM sections on computing ( Chapter 30 Table of Contents – Computing and Communications and 30.12 – UI Computer Use Policy).
ITS recommends that prior to international travel you professionally clean your hard drive of residual data. For assistance with protecting computers or preparing computing devices for foreign travel, you should contact the ITS Help Desk firstname.lastname@example.org or 885-HELP (4357).