Some scary news: US border control now has the authority to swipe your laptop, cell phone or other electronic device. Bad news no matter which way you look at it, but you could be utterly lost if you’re traveling and US agents decide to retain your laptop indefinitely.
My best advice is to travel with a stripped-down piece of equipment that contains only contact names and travel details and download information from an online storage space when you arrive at your destination.
But you might also give a shot at TrueCrypt, free open-source software that locks down the information on your laptop so that only you can get at it. Not only does TrueCrypt encrypt your files, but it hides them so snoops don’t even know they exist, a practice called steganography.
It’s worth learning a bit about how this works if you travel and can’t live without your laptop. Of course, border control can still take your iPod, so there’s a good reason to travel with a cheapy MP3/4 player.