March 21st, 2017
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I find going through security and customs to be one of the most unpleasant aspects of the entire journey. After 9/11, security and immigration measures were tightened, and we now deal with airport technology that was unheard of when I was growing up. Long gone are the days of short security lines and breezing through border control.
Today, clearing the US or Canadian border can be its own special kind of hell — especially if you have a foreign sounding name or have traveled to Middle Eastern countries. Investigative journalists and filmmakers also face outrageous ordeals in returning back home to the US.
For all that, yet another disturbing development has me questioning whether it’s worth it to travel at all: border agents demanding you unlock your phone and computer so they can be searched and, possibly, their information copied — even if you aren’t suspected of any wrongdoing. And the searches are increasing. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of smartphone searches at the US border jumped 500 percent, from 4,444 to around 23,000.
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