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SOVEREIGN MAN

Two unique privacy solutions

Here’s the scene… you’ve just landed and are making your way through immigration. Bleary-eyed and a bit disoriented, the portly fellow behind the desk singles you out for ‘secondary screening,’ and you are whisked away to the catacombs of the Customs service.

At this point, it really doesn’t matter what country you’re arrived to… until you clear customs and immigration, you’re in no man’s land.  For customs officials, anything is fair game, including laptops and personal effects.

I have written before about this practice by the US Customs and Border Protection agency, but frankly just about every government in the world reserves similar powers to protect its borders against the terrorist and criminal elements.

Computers can be confiscated, inspected, and even copied in order for immigration agents to make a determination whether or not to let you in the country. It doesn’t normally happen very often, at least in civilized places… but the mere possibility is enough to make me want to take some precautions.

One very elegant solution that I have discovered is through diplomatic channels.  There are nations, for example, which actually sell appointments to official diplomatic posts, such as Ambassador or Honorary Consul.

According to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, an official diplomatic bag, which would include a laptop briefcase, shall not be opened or detained by foreign inspectors, even when the diplomat is merely in transit.

In other words, the convention allows diplomats with official credentials to enjoy freedom from unreasonable searches and seizure, even in immigration no-man’s land.

Official diplomatic programs are perfectly legal… though not exactly well-advertised. Prices range from $25,000 to over $100,000, depending on the post and the country of issuance.

Get in touch with me if this sounds interesting and I can point you in the right direction.

Another solution to protecting your information is to use a software package that will lock down your hard drive against unauthorized access.

I recommend TrueCrypt (www.truecrypt.org), which comes in both a Mac and Windows version.  It’s free, and one of the best encryption platforms out there.

TrueCrypt will create a ‘virtual encrypted disk’ that will completely secure your hard drive, or an external device like a USB drive.  It even has the ability to create a ‘hidden’, encrypted operating system so that when you turn on your computer, a ‘dummy’ system will be displayed, and the real system will be hidden beneath it.

If this sounds scary, try TrueCrypt out on a external device like a USB memory stick. You can back up important files on this device and lock them down like Fort Knox.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Marquelle

    Diplomatic credentials for sale?!

    I’ve got to save up for that!

  • Christine

    Does the Dimplomat program include a diplomatic passport?

  • Dk

    Nice Idea. I was looking around and found these two sites, legal firms that do passport/residency, business formation work. does anyone have any experience with them ?

  • craig

    I am very much interested in Official Diplomatic Programs because I am planning to travel aboard… Could you please tell and show me how to do this…

  • craig

    Could I buy a Diplomatic Passport also and price or is that included with the Official Diplomatic Program? I look forward to hearing back from you!
    Thank you for your time!

  • andy

    Hi Simon,

    I am interested to get more informations about the diplomatic passports.

    Best Regards,Andy

  • http://n/a dennis dale stevenson

    i am “getting in touch” to have all the info on this program–official diplomatic programs for sale–countries involved etc–does one have to be a citizen of said country?

  • http://www.indiantrailjewelry@yahoo.com Judy

    The information on the diplomatic status sounds interesting, please send additional information. Also, what is your opinion of SkotiaBank (ScotiaBank)?

  • Chris

    I too am interested in obtaining overseas diplomatic documents. Out of curiosity, have you done this yourself?

  • Simon

    I would greatly appreciate receiving information on how one may obtain diplomatic status. Thank you.

  • Steve

    I am interested in receiving more information about the Official diplomatic program.

    Thanks

  • daffyd

    please include me on your list of whom to reply to concerning consular positions.

    thank you for your attention

  • craig

    Have not heard back yet pertaining to the Official Diplomatic Program please respond looking forward to your info.

    Thank you!

  • SyrinxV

    Presumably, one would need to have citizenship in a country in order for them to grant you diplomatic credentials … ?

    But it’s an intriguing, out-of-the-box idea for dealing with the airport security nazis. Hmm, I wonder if US diplomats would be exempt from the illegal warrantless searches at US airports. But knowing the federal govt, they’d probably want all your personal information, a retina scan, fingerprints, and a DNA sample first.

    Also, thanks for the TrueCrypt recommendation, I’ll definately keep that in mind for the next time I travel overseas with my laptop.

  • Alfred

    I’am interested in the Official Diplomatic Program. Looking forward for your reply. Warmest Regards.

  • charles

    Thanks for the info Simon. I am interested in the Official diplomatic programs. Also the diplomatic pouches in order to ship gold bullion undetected.

    Please contact me if you have further information

    Cheers Simon

  • David Templeton

    Yes, I would like more info on the diplomatic passport option…

  • Tom

    I would also like more information on diplomatic posts “for sale.”

  • Michael

    Hello Simon, As a frequent international entrepreneurial traveller, I am quite interested in information re obtaining a diplomatic passport.
    Thank you and love your blog.
    Regards,
    Michael

  • TM

    Hello
    We almost got to be ambassadors through an investment one time. It did not however pan out. My husband and I are very interested in obtaining diplomatic passports. We travel extensively and already have a dual passport along with residency in two different countries. We are currently looking at a home to purchase in Uruguay. I am not that computer savvy so if you do contact me please tell me how to answer you without making my address available to the whole newsletter list. You did write me once and when I replied to the address it was sent from I never got a return email. I didn’t know how to write you without making my reply public.

  • allessa garrett

    I am very interested in obtaining diplomatic status, as I am considering second and third passport program, while leaning toward a long term goal of renunciation. Any guidance or assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

  • Roger

    Beware of the “evil maid” attack:

    “Evil Maid” Attacks on Encrypted Hard Drives

    Earlier this month, Joanna Rutkowska implemented the “evil maid” attack
    against TrueCrypt. The same kind of attack should work against any
    whole-disk encryption, including PGP Disk and BitLocker. Basically, the
    attack works like this:

    Step 1: Attacker gains access to your shut-down computer and boots it
    from a separate volume. The attacker writes a hacked bootloader onto
    your system, then shuts it down.

    Step 2: You boot your computer using the attacker’s hacked bootloader,
    entering your encryption key. Once the disk is unlocked, the hacked
    bootloader does its mischief. It might install malware to capture the
    key and send it over the Internet somewhere, or store it in some
    location on the disk to be retrieved later, or whatever.

    You can see why it’s called the “evil maid” attack; a likely scenario is
    that you leave your encrypted computer in your hotel room when you go
    out to dinner, and the maid sneaks in and installs the hacked
    bootloader. The same maid could even sneak back the next night and
    erase any traces of her actions.

    This attack exploits the same basic vulnerability as the “Cold Boot”
    attack from last year, and the “Stoned Boot” attack from earlier this
    year, and there’s no real defense to this sort of thing. As soon as you
    give up physical control of your computer, all bets are off. From CRN:
    “Similar hardware-based attacks were among the main reasons why
    Symantec’s CTO Mark Bregman was recently advised by ‘three-letter
    agencies in the US Government’ to use separate laptop and mobile device
    when traveling to China, citing potential hardware-based compromise.”

    PGP sums it up in their blog. “No security product on the market today
    can protect you if the underlying computer has been compromised by
    malware with root level administrative privileges. That said, there
    exists well-understood common sense defenses against ‘Cold Boot,’
    ‘Stoned Boot.’ ‘Evil Maid,’ and many other attacks yet to be named and
    publicized.”

    The defenses are basically two-factor authentication: a token you don’t
    leave in your hotel room for the maid to find and use. The maid could
    still corrupt the machine, but it’s more work than just storing the
    password for later use. Putting your data on a thumb drive and taking
    it with you doesn’t work; when you return you’re plugging your thumb
    into a corrupted machine.

    The real defense here is trusted boot, something Trusted Computing is
    supposed to enable. And the only way to get that is from Microsoft’s
    BitLocker hard disk encryption, if your computer has a TPM module
    version 1.2 or later.

    In the meantime, people who encrypt their hard drives, or partitions on
    their hard drives, have to realize that the encryption gives them less
    protection than they probably believe. It protects against someone
    confiscating or stealing their computer and then trying to get at the
    data. It does not protect against an attacker who has access to your
    computer over a period of time during which you use it, too.

  • James

    Yes I would love information on obtaining diplomatic positions, passports, etc. Please advise – thank you!

  • Freeat12five

    Couple of notes on diplomatic immunity. It is typically only extended to accredited diplomats in the country their are serving. If you are not on the roster of the embassy or consulate in the country in question, it’s not likely to do you much good. You could of course still bust out the diplomatic passport and hope for the best, but if things go south, you have just doubled down on your troubles.

    As a child I traveled on a diplomatic passport. Abusing it carries very severe consequences.

    Stick to crypto.

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