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I'm from the Philippines and will be emigrating to US soon, specifically Hawaii. I'll be selling my PC locally, but I wanted to bring my hard drives with me since they have my important files, and games that are worth TBs. It'll be more economic to simply bring these drives rather than re-downloading them all again (Steam).

After reading a lot of articles online, they say that customs has the right to inspect the contents of the hard drive and/or copy a full backup of it for further inspection. Though I'm fine with it, it's a bit uncomfortable that they can just take my private data and be on with it, for the sake of security. Encrypting my hard drive may be worse, since they'll ask me what are the contents of it, and detain me for further 'investigation', based on online news and such.

So all I'd like to ask - is it okay for me to bring 2 (two) 3.5 inch Internal HDDs with me on the flight, on my hand luggage and still retain my privacy? Is it safe to encrypt my files, or simply zip sensitive files instead?

If this will just get me in trouble, can I use a courier service and safely deliver the hard drives? I'm not sure if it's safe to do this, since I believe hard drives can be sensitive to shock.

marked as duplicate by JonathanReez, Gayot Fow, Ali Awan, JoErNanO, Giorgio Feb 27 '17 at 16:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Is it okay for me to bring 2 (two) 3.5 inch Internal HDDs with me on the flight, on my hand luggage and still retain my privacy? Yes it is okay to bring them, however you retain no rights to privacy

Is it safe to encrypt my files, or simply zip sensitive files instead? It is okay to encrypt your files, or zip them whichever you prefer however once again you must provide access when it is demanded.

It is important to remember that even under the Obama administration, the US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies had wide latitude to seize and search any digital device crossing the nation’s borders. Indeed they may search without a warrant and without suspicion. Only when it came to seizing the devices for extended periods of time, such as days or even weeks, to copy all of the files on the device, did the courts draw something of a line.

You can choose to use a courier service, that does not change anything if they choose to check. Don't forget items shipped through courier services also undergo screening by US Customs & Border Patrol.

So you have no rights to privacy.

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