Laptop Rentals For Business Travelers Helps Secure Vital Business Data When Re-Entering the US |

Executives and other business travelers who need to conduct business overseas would be well advised to consider picking up laptop rentals before leaving the country and traveling only with files and data that are absolutely essential to conduct the business matter that takes them overseas, rather than taking their personal business computers with them and possibly compromising the data security of vital, proprietary, and/or confidential business information to public scrutiny.

California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals returned a decision on April 23rd that should raise eyebrows and concern for U.S. business travelers who need to travel overseas to conduct business. The crux of the decision is that the International Arrivals terminal in any of America’s airports is legally considered to be the “functional equivalent of a border” crossing. As such, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have an unfettered right to search anything that is being brought into the United States when a person is returning from overseas – just as a Border Patrol officer has the right to examine all the contents of your car at an international crossing on the Canadian or Mexican border. For business travelers who conduct sensitive business overseas, this means that Customs officers now have an unfettered right to search your laptop and examine any and all files on your computer.

The decision was rendered in respect of a now-convicted pedophile who returned to the U.S. from the Philippines with images of child pornography that Customs agents found after closely scrutinizing and examining multiple files and images on his laptop for several hours at the LAX International Arrivals terminal. At first glance you may say to yourself, “So what? I’ve been overseas on legitimate business, everything and anything on my computer is legal and aboveboard. How does this affect me or my company?” The point is that on almost any business computer that an executive or highly placed employee uses for everyday business purposes there will be files with confidential business information that could be damaging ot the company’s strategic interests if it seeps into the public domain.

Any information is susceptible to seepage once it is in the public domain. And make no mistake, once a file has been examined, even by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent tasked with safeguarding you and your country’s interest, it is in the public domain. You can then no longer say with certainty that this information has not been passed on to a third party, even if it is done unwittingly.

Let’s face it. Even the most morally upright and patriotic public servant is human. And as humans we are fallible and subject to lapses in judgment and temptation. Once a company’s proprietary and strategic information has been examined it can no longer say with any assurance that the information that was examined is confidential. It isn’t. The courts themselves are continually dealing with cases where inside information that was supposed to be highly confidential has leaked into the public domain. When this is done purposively, it is known as “tipping”. When a person acts upon information and trades in the shares of a publicly listed company, or benefits from a third party who trades upon information that has not been generally disclosed to the public, that person commits an illegal act and opens him or herself to charges of insider trading. Ask Martha Stewart.

Moreover, business history is replete with instances where confidential information has seeped out of office towers and out from behind the “Chinese Walls” that investment houses, law offices and securities firms studiously erect to compartmentalize critical information about pending business transactions – corporate mergers, acquisitions and the like. When such such supposedly inside information hits the street, and it frequently does, stock prices fluctuate and the resulting shift in financial fundamentals can crater a business deal that has where can i buy cialis online. taken weeks or months and millions of dollars to put together. Such seepage and the resulting market swings can result from anything from an indiscreet conversation in an elevator, to someone dumpster diving for unshredded documents, to the intentional interception of cellphone calls and BlackBerry texts.

When there is money to be made, and information is money in today’s economy, money talks – even to the best of us. In light of the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling respecting the right of Customs agents to scrutinize any computer and its files in depth, prudence should dictate that before traveling overseas from LAX (or O’Hare, JFK or Dulles, for that matter) one should pick up a rental laptop and travel overseas only with the files and information that it is absolutely essential for you to take. Because when you return, everything and anything that is on your own business laptop and files could potentially become part of the public domain. Using business computer rentals when overseas on business as opposed to exposing your own systems with the reams of information stored on them to public scrutiny seems to be the wise and discrete way to travel.

Comments are closed.