Passing Through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol with Your Smartphone? LINK App to the Rescue!

Peripatetic lawyers, take note from Friday, 1/5/2018, in the Washington Post:

“U.S. customs agents conducted 60 percent more searches of travelers’ cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices during the government’s 2017 fiscal year, according to statistics released Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The agency said it searched 30,200 devices but the inspections affected only 0.007 percent of the 397 million travelers — including American citizens as well as foreign visitors — who arrived from abroad during the 12-month period that ended Sept 30.”1

A US-based lawyer takes a holiday or business trip overseas. If she uses our LINK app, she can work while she is traveling. When she returns home to the US, she must enter US Customs and Border Patrol. Her electronic devices may be subject to inspection, which could compromise her client’s data.

Or, a lawyer from Toronto goes to the US for a conference or vacation and must pass through CBP.

Law firms ask us about using LINK this CBP scenario, for example, is LINK locked? Yes. You must authenticate with your Active Directory credentials and/or biometrics. But that may not be sufficient.

This Washington Post article states,

“Under the new guidelines, travelers who are selected by its officers for additional screening could be asked to unlock their electronic devices for inspection or provide passcodes. 

Only information physically stored on the device — such as photographs or phone numbers — would be subject to search, said the official, who the agency would not allow to be quoted by name. CBP agents would not be allowed to seek information stored externally or on a “cloud” linked to the device.”

What? Give up your passwords?

The article tells us,

“Passwords provided by travelers would be destroyed and not retained by the government, the CBP official said.” 

The idea of leaving it to the government to manage destruction of passwords might not be enough assurance for many of us, nor secure enough to meet the requirements of a law firm clients.

LINK provides an easy, safe solution for CBP.

Work overseas. Before you enter CBP, just uninstall the LINK app.

There’s nothing exotic about this process. It’s the normal, quick process to delete an app. For example, in iOS, press on the LINK tile until it wiggles, then tap the X. The LINK app is deleted as is any local data which may have been cached in LINK. LINK and all contents are gone. (Your IT department can also wipe the LINK app remotely.)

Furthermore, someone with ill intentions could not reinstall the LINK app from the App Store and then access your data. Your IT department must send you a new “Welcome Email,” which has a live link which you must tap to complete the certificate-based registration.

Our LINK app gives lawyers quick, from-anywhere access to documents (including documents in iManage® and NetDocuments®), email, SharePoint, web applications, and the firm portal. Lawyers can open DMS links, search DMS, edit, annotate, and send documents to clients or colleagues from a tablet or smartphone. LINK can be configured by IT to allow or to prohibit local cache of encrypted documents. Learn more about what you can do with LINK in this 2-minute video. 

With LINK, you can take the uncertainty out of working abroad. Work securely overseas, then delete the LINK app before the border. After CBP, ask your IT department to send you a new LINK Welcome Email.

If you want to know more about how to use LINK in this kind of scenario, just email me at contact at mobilehelix.com.

-Maureen

Post Script – Jeff Richardson kindly mentioned this post in his @iPhoneJD Friday email on Jan. 12, 2018. Jeff referred to our LINK app as being cloud-based. LINK is not cloud-based. The server software is deployed on VMs on-prem, behind the firm firewall.

LINK integrates with both on-prem and cloud-based resources including iManage, NetDocuments, SharePoint 2010, 2013, and Office 365.

______________________________________________

1 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-customs-agents-are-searching-more-cellphones–including-those-belonging-to-americans/2018/01/05/0a236202-f247-11e7-b3bf-ab90a706e175_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-national%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.fbd21aad1965 by @NickMiroff

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