By Olivia Martin, Freedom of the Press Foundation 

Foreign correspondents traveling to the U.S. should request to speak to their lawyer if they are detained, stopped for questioning, or compelled to give up decryption or social media passwords at the U.S. border. Before leaving home, it is recommended that they have their attorney’s contact information memorized or written in a paper notebook. 

While the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) do not usually provide rapid-response legal support, journalists should feel free to contact their representatives if they believe they have been subject to an unlawful search or seizure. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also provides legal advocacy in the case of unlawful device seizure or tampering. 

Ultimately, however, the question of whether to comply or not can only be answered by the individual. To minimize the risk of divulging personal or source information, journalists should travel with as little compromising data as possible.

Olivia Martin is a Digital Security Fellow at Freedom of the Press Foundation and will be discussing security tools and tips for journalists worldwide at the CAR Conference.