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Education Abroad Office

Technology & Photography

When traveling, it is important to keep your electronic devices as secure as possible. Data that you carry may be valuable to individuals, foreign governments, and other entities. The use of unsecured networks, as well as the physical threats of damage to or theft or your devices are heightened while traveling.

Before you leave the United States

  • Back up your data and keep a copy of it in a secure location. As possible, delete all sensitive information from your device (e.g. any sensitive personal information or proprietary institutional data, etc.) and password protect or encrypt anything that you cannot remove.
  • Change your USC network password and change passwords for your frequently-accessed sites (e.g. email accounts, etc.). Ensure multi-factor authentication is installed and you have a way to use this mechanism while abroad.
  • Update all software and ensure that you have up to date anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software installed.
  • Ensure that your internet browsers are set to not remember passwords.
  • Turn off Bluetooth.
  • Be aware that in some countries, businesses and/or governments may attempt to steal valuable intellectual information saved on your device. Be aware which countries carry a heightened risk for this activity and if visiting one, avoid bringing sensitive information.

While you are abroad

  • Remember that at points of entry and exit, countries claim a right to search and seize your technology. If you experience this, comply with the official's request.  Once there is a resolution, please contact USC.
  • Remember that public networks should not be trusted.
  • Remember that in some countries, governments may monitor your internet use without informing you.  Do not assume your internet presence or your internet conversations are private.
  • Be cautious with your electronic devices at all times, especially in crowded and public places.
  • Assume that any computer you use, other than your own, is unprotected.

After you return to the United States

  • Change your USC network password and change passwords for your frequently-accessed sites (e.g. email accounts, social media etc.).

Photos & Videos

While nearly everyone looks forward to documenting their travelers through photography, it is important to keep certain cultural and legal considerations in mind, as norms around photography can greatly vary across the globe.

  • In some areas, taking photographs of individuals (especially women) is considered culturally inappropriate and may cause offense. In other places, individuals may expect a tip if you take a photograph of them. At some cultural or religious sites, or in some museums, it may be inappropriate to take photographs or use selfie sticks. When in doubt, always ask before snapping a picture.
  • Sometimes, there are legal issues surrounding photography. Do not take pictures of military facilities or in secure government facilities, such as the airport security line.  Depending on where you are, it might be illegal to photograph government buildings or certain religious structures. If you see a sign or receive a warning not to take a photograph, abide by it. Ignoring such restrictions may result in the confiscation of your camera or even your arrest.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.