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Travelling with technology
Travelling is enjoyable and broadens our understanding of different cultures, but it also carries risks. If you are aware of the risks you will be better able to manage them, and to have a safe and rewarding journey! On this page we highlight a few recommendations and provide links where you can find more information.
1. Know the risks
Different areas of the world carry different risks, ranging from physical health or safety to laws very different from home. Regarding technology, some countries make it illegal to use strong encryption, such as that used by default on smart phones. All of the same precautions you would take at home apply while travelling, only more so. Leaving devices unattended, enabling Bluetooth, or connecting them to charging stations may expose them to attack. You should research your journey and prepare as appropriate in advance.
2. Back up your electronic devices
Electronic devices are obvious targets for theft, and may be lost or stolen on your journey. As well, border officials have broad powers to inspect and seize electronic devices. If you have your data backed up properly, you will at least be able to recover it when you return home.
3. Don't take what you don't need
Travelling light is good general advice, and applies particularly well to technology. Personal photos on your device may lead to complications where there are cultural or legal differences. Confidential university information is best left at home, unless it's required on your journey (FIPPA has an exception for temporary travel). If you don't need an electronic device or data, don't take it with you. In extreme cases, taking only an inexpensive, low-tech device may be the best approach.
4. Follow SFU's general travel safety advice
For further information, see