We need a ‘trip mode’ for social media sites that reduces our contact list and history to a minimal subset of what the site normally offers. Not only would such a feature protect people forced to give their passwords at the border, but it would mitigate the many additional threats to privacy they face when they use their social media accounts away from home.
To work effectively, a trip mode feature would need to be easy to turn on, configurable (so you can choose how long you want the protection turned on for) and irrevocable for an amount of time chosen by the user once it’s set. There’s no sense in having a ‘trip mode’ if the person demanding your password can simply switch it off, or coerce you into switching it off.
I’m glad someone is thinking about this, and I do get how this is a real problem - but I’m not sure we’ve stumbled onto the right solution yet. This seems a bit of a shotgun approach to me.
They can travel with special laptops and phones used for travel only, without social media apps or browser history. But such feints are easy to circumvent, particularly at the US border, where your identity is known to the border patrol hours before you land. Border agents can find your profile online and make you log in on their own machine.
(emphasis mine) Make you login? OMG, is this seriously a thing that happens? This is terrible. How would having a device in travel mode help in this case? I guess your on-line account would also have to lock you out until vacation was over? Talk about a support nightmare for service providers - and rife for social engineering if support departments are given any power to help correct “mistakes”.