THERE ARE GROWING concerns over the security of data on travellers' laptops seized by Transport Security Administration (TSA) officials at US gateways.
The extent of the problem is unknown, but at least four members of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) have fallen foul of what appear to be unspecified regulations. Maria Udy, vice president, global marketing and branding for RADIUS, had a laptop impounded two years ago and is yet to have it returned.
Says Udy: "If the TSA worked with the corporate travel industry on this issue, it would make life much easier. We, as an industry, are not against any procedure that allows safe travel."
Jay Richmond, Washington-based chief information officer for RADIUS, wants answers: "How long do they hold the data for? If it is being copied for security reasons, who holds it? Do they use any of that information to try to collect additional data?
"For anyone working on mergers or acquisitions, for example, it is vital this information does not fall into the wrong hands," he says.
The TSA insists that it "makes no comment on individual travellers".
According to ACTE, while the incidence of laptop seizure or the confiscation of other electronic devices is relatively small when compared to the numbers of business travellers crossing US borders, the implications for those who fall into this category can be significant. "We recommend that travellers carry the bare minimum of data, that they can afford to lose, on their laptops."