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US customs searching phones
Post: #1
Hey Guys, 

I am off to LA in October for the western wonders tour (super excited) and just reading up on us border control as wanted to understand what you could take and not etc. I am seeing reports that they may want me to hand over my phone and unlock it and give them all my social media passwords etc not that I have anything to hide but wow what an invasion of privacy, i have read a few horror story's of people who refused to do so being detained indefinitely and customs taking devices away for more than an hour before handing them back. 


has anyone been to usa recently and experienced this? thinking of leaving the phone at home than being possibly detained and yep I have worst case scenario myself Smileust a little nervous as first solo trip and first time going to the USA.
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Post: #2
Hi Philuk79,

I'm sure other travellers will share their experiences with you too but I thought I'd get my comments in too. I have travelled a number of times to the US and never encountered any issues. On one occasion there were some problems with my fingerprinting but they were very friendly in handling the situation.

But I've pulled off some information from the FCO website which states:
"On 28 June 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that it would also begin implementing separate enhanced security screening procedures for all commercial flights to the US."

Now, following the link to the Homeland Security website, the following information is included:

"Enhanced Security Measures and Timeline
The enhanced security measures include but are not limited to:
• Enhancing overall passenger screening;
• Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
• Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
• Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional pre-clearance locations.

Over the course of the next several weeks and months, DHS/TSA will work with aviation stakeholders to ensure these enhanced security measures are fully implemented."

What does this mean for you? Possibly not a lot. Since this has started (and I appreciate it is early days) I haven't seen anything on the daily reports that suggest our travellers have been affected.

In short, our recommendation would be to co-operate with those working at border security and you will have nothing to worry about.

Kindest regards,

Julia
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Post: #3
(09/08/2017, 01:37 PM)Philuk79 Wrote: Hey Guys, 

I am off to LA in October for the western wonders tour (super excited) and just reading up on us border control as wanted to understand what you could take and not etc. I am seeing reports that they may want me to hand over my phone and unlock it and give them all my social media passwords etc not that I have anything to hide but wow what an invasion of privacy, i have read a few horror story's of people who refused to do so being detained indefinitely and customs taking devices away for more than an hour before handing them back. 


has anyone been to usa recently and experienced this? thinking of leaving the phone at home than being possibly detained and yep I have worst case scenario myself Smileust a little nervous as first solo trip and first time going to the USA.

Hi

The ESTA process asks for social media details but lists this as optional.  If you've got nothing to hide, I cannot see any problem.  Don't be nervous.  Enjoy your trip.

Sylvia
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Post: #4
I was in New York in May and had no troubles at all with phone issues at customs but times might have changed. I know at one time things had to be FULLY charged.

I would take the phone with you . I would have been lost without mine as was useing a map app for getting around
Have fun and enjoy the tour

Cindy
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Post: #5
It's the idea of them asking for passwords and then searching our social media pages that I find intrusive, inappropriate and unacceptable.  I've heard of people being turned away at the US/Canadian border when they were interrogated about whether they supported Trump and when they said they didn't, they were refused entry.  The US is really going to the dogs...

Cheers,

Bob
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Post: #6
Hi,

I'm booked to go to Arizona in October and was wondering about the increased security, I will still take my phone with me and as Julia suggests co-operate with the border security.  I raised a query about my ESTA as I was worried about the increased security as I had this completed for my NYC trip last September and it has an expiry date of May 2018 but with the new security processes I was worried if I might have to get a new one but was assured via this forum (I can't recall without checking the thread if it was Julia or another moderator) that as it is in date I will be ok.  I had this applied for by JY so there will not be any details of my social media on it which I see Sylvia says in an optional section.

I agree it feels like an invasion of privacy if they ask me for my passwords but as I want to go to the USA on holiday I will give them to them and then as soon as I get out of the airport and on my way change them.  I'm not saying I agree with their processes but as they have made them clear and I want to travel there I will go along with them (this may be the lawyer in me coming out-apologies).

I think it is something to be aware of but as there are still many USA trips I want to do with JY I'm not going to let it affect me as I only found JY last year and want to keep travelling despite this.

I hope you have a good trip Philuk79, the Western Wonders trip looks excellent but it is now too long for me to get the time off work to do so will sadly be one I have to miss Sad .

Donna
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Post: #7
Hi

I know you have to have strong security measures in this day and age, but USA is getting too paranoid. I for one do not fancy having a US holiday even though I would love to do the National Parks tour. Flying is getting more and more stressful, but I refuse to stop travellling!

Regards

Jaya
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Post: #8
Hi

I have traveled to the States since the new enhanced measures have started. They will not always check your phone, IPAD etc but you need to have the passwords at the ready if they wish to check them. At one point I needed to have my phone and IPAD in a separate container from the rest of my property to go through the x-ray machine. They have always had the right to check you electronics and social media but it hadn't really been done extensively as now. Only real change I have found is it takes a lot longer to go through security so be prepared for that. Hope that helps.

Enjoy your travels Smile
Diane
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Post: #9
Hi Diane, 

Thanks for the info, it is very helpful.

Best wishes,

Bob
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Post: #10
Hey all, 

I didnt mean to put anyone off or scare anyone, i have asked various colleagues of mine who in the last 2 weeks have been to LA and they were not required to hand over there phone or laptops or give there social media passwords. only thing they have told me is expect a couple of more questions than normal if you are first time visoter, so all good and as Julia says I will just co-operate with whatever they ask for, if they want to look at my Social media and see pictures of my cat and dog and listen to my group exercise music then they are more than welcome to do so  Big Grin

either case for anyone going on thr western wonders tour in October, I will see you soon.
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