Archives For Baggage

Mobility concept

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Index, and National File Tracking System of Records, implemented new or modified uses of information maintained on individuals as they pass through the immigration process. The new requirements became effective as of 18 October 2017.

The new regulation updates the categories of individuals covered, to include: individuals acting as legal guardians or designated representatives in immigration proceedings involving an individual who is physically or developmentally disabled or severely mentally impaired (when authorized); Civil Surgeons who conduct and certify medical examinations for immigration benefits; law enforcement officers who certify a benefit requestor’s cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of a criminal activity; a­nd interpreters.

It also expands the categories of records to include: country of nationality; country of residence; the USCIS Online Account Number; social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results; and EOIR and BIA proceedings information.
The new regulation also includes updated record source categories to include: publicly available information obtained from the internet; public records; public institutions; interviewees; commercial data providers; and information obtained and disclosed pursuant to information sharing agreements.

With this latest expansion of data allowed to be collected, it begs the question: How does one protect sensitive data housed on electronic devices? In addition to inspecting all persons, baggage, and merchandise at a port-of-entry, CBP does indeed have the authority to search electronic devices too. CBP’s stance is that consent is not required for such a search. This position is supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has determined that such border searches constitute reasonable searches; and therefore, do not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment.

Despite this broad license afforded CBP at the port-of-entry, CBP’s authority is checked somewhat in that such searches do not include information located solely in the cloud. Information subject to search must be physically stored on the device in order to be accessible at the port-of-entry. Additionally, examination of attorney-client privileged communications contained on electronic devices first requires CBP’s consultation with Associate/Assistant Chief Counsel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

So what may one do to prevent seizure of an electronic device or avoid disclosure of confidential data to CBP during a border search? The New York and Canadian Bar Associations have compiled the following recommendations:

  • Consider carrying a temporary or travel laptop cleansed of sensitive local documents and information. Access data through a VPN connection or cloud-based warehousing.
  • Consider carrying temporary mobile devices stripped of contacts and other confidential information. Have calls forwarded from your office number to the unpublished mobile number when traveling.
  • Back up data and shut down your electronic device well before reaching the inspection area to eliminate access to Random Access Memory.
  • Use an alternate account to hold sensitive information. Apply strong encryption and complex passwords.
  • Partition and encrypt the hard drive.
  • Protect the data port.
  • Clean your electronic device(s) following return.
  • Wipe smartphones remotely.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: article originally published by Mondaq.com, author: Cory, J (2017:11)

Advertisements

Overzealous Customs officials of the UK Border and Immigration Service are in the pooh for breaking the rules! While customs officials now require to redress their conduct, what of the thousands of airport ground handling staff who pilfer passenger’s luggage without much investigation or reprisal?

If you’ve ever come back from holiday and been sure your carefully packed luggage wasn’t quite how you’d left it, you may not have been imagining things. ‘Snooping’ customs officials are secretly searching the bags of thousands of air passengers. Little-known powers allow covert searches to check if passengers are bringing too much alcohol or too many cigarettes into the country. If nothing is found, passengers are never told their suitcases have been opened and interfered with.

Covert luggage searches are carried out on inbound flights after items are taken off planes, but before they are placed on the carousel for passengers to collect

Covert luggage searches are carried out on inbound flights after items are taken off planes, but before they are placed on the carousel for passengers to collect

But customs officials are not keeping records of fruitless searches – making it impossible to know the true scale of the snooping. And their own inspectors said the lack of records mean searches may have been disproportionate and unlawful. They also warned that officials were ignoring guidance suggesting they needed written authorisation for such searches, and that the advice they were issued with was ‘contradictory’. Privacy campaigners said the powers should be reined in, and proper records kept. The details emerged in a report published today by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine. To read the Report Click Here!

Covert searches are not allowed under current guidance for border officials. The Border Force Enforcement Handbook says such searches are ‘banned’ unless they take place as part of a specific operation. Even then, when the passenger is ‘not in attendance’, officials are told to obtain written authorisation from a senior manager in advance, apart from in exceptional circumstances.

But today’s report makes clear that this guidance was ignored – and is contradicted by other rules. Officials were also using draft guidance from 2008, which permits covert searches without written authorisation when used ‘proportionately’. But it was only valid until September of that year. The Home Office was unable to provide any figures for the number of searches at other airports. Mr Vine’s inspectors found that 1,147 pieces of luggage were seized at Birmingham Airport following secret searches in the year to September 2012.

He said: ‘I found there was no central record to show occasions where covert baggage searches were carried out, but no seizures were made. The absence of these records meant that no assurance could be provided to demonstrate that this power was being used in a lawful, proportionate and controlled manner.’

Covert luggage searches are carried out on inbound flights after items are taken off planes, but before they are placed on the carousel for passengers to collect.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘The fact the figures are not being properly collected begs the question if staff think they can get away with snooping in people’s luggage in search of a quick laugh or cheap thrill.’

A Border Force spokesman said: ‘Searching baggage, including when the owner is not present, is a legal and proportionate response to this issue. Any such searches must be authorised by a senior officer. Source: Mail Online

India customs_SnapseedIn a bid to make security checks less frazzling for international fliers after their arrival in the city, the Mumbai airport Customs have adopted an advanced in-line screening system to avoid inconveniencing commuters in the green channel. Installed two weeks ago, the system will also help improve screening procedure.

Earlier, every single item of luggage was screened at the Customs exit points, which led to long queues where passengers had to wait for hours before they could exit. With the new advanced screening system installed at the starting point of conveyor belts, the luggage will be screened before it is put on the belt from where the passenger picks it up and walks through the green channel.

“Earlier, there used to be a huge queue at the Customs checkpoints as each and every bag was screened there, and if anything was found to be suspicious, the screening for the following bags was stalled, putting other passengers on hold. With the new system, a foolproof screening would be done before the baggage makes it to the conveyor belt,” said a Mumbai airport Customs official, on the condition of anonymity.

“During screening, if any suspicious or undeclared items are found, the baggage would be marked and put on the conveyor belt. The Customs officer inspecting the luggage would pick it up to ensure that duty fine is imposed or appropriate action is taken,” the official said.

Apart from this, the new system would also be able to screen items concealed in packing, which were not detected by the earlier system and needed a manual check.

Officials further revealed that the Customs department is expecting ISO certification, one of the reasons why the new system was adopted. Apart from this, the Customs have also appointed a nodal agency to take feedback from passengers about the new system. Additional Commissioner Mahendra Pal (Air Intelligence Unit), Mumbai airport Customs, said, “We have adopted a new system which would reduce passenger inconvenience and help make screening better.” Source: www.ndtv.com