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Traveling outside the EU? The CNIL gives some advice to protect your data


Are you traveling outside the European Union for the end of year celebrations? So you’ve probably already thought about renewing your passport, changing money and taking an intensive Duolingo course. But what of your personal data? If you travel with your phone, tablet and computer, it is good to follow some tips to avoid taking risks.

Lock down your social networks

In an article published on November 14, 2022, the CNIL takes stock of the good reflexes to adopt to secure your data during an international trip, more specifically a stay outside European borders where the GDPR will not protect your data.

Above all, the personal data policeman advises to be very careful about what you post on social networks before and during the trip. Announcing all over Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok that you’re going halfway around the world for 15 days could make your home easy prey for burglars. “The images of coconut trees, a city sign, a boarding platform for a long flight will be enough to reassure criminals about the distance that separates you from your home… and their time of action”indicates the Cnil in another dedicated guide to social media lockdown.

Once there, “never reveal information about you that could put you in difficulty depending on your country of destination, in particular sensitive data such as your political or religious opinions, or your sexual orientation”, advises the CNIL. If you’re going to Qatar for the World Cup, for example, be very careful about what you post. As Amnesty International recallsthe local government does not mess with the information published on social networks.

Avoid logging in to anything and everything

More technical-technical, the Cnil recommends “travel with a blank phone, if possible”, or reset your smartphone before departure. If the installation of a government app is required for any reason, install it at the last moment, uninstall it as soon as you return and “limit system permissions to those strictly necessary”, specifies the independent authority. Finally, consider keeping your phone with you at all times and protecting it with a complex and unique password. This also goes for everyday life, for that matter.

In the event of a problem, the CNIL advises keeping the number of the consular office in the country of destination with you. To check that you have done everything necessary to protect your personal data, the complete checklist is available on the CNIL website — tick each item on the list as you go.

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