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When Kenneth G. Lieberthal travels to China, he leaves his cellphone and laptop at home.  As an expert at the Brookings Institute, he instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and then wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive.  While all of this sounds like a spy thriller, the threat to data security is very real!


1. Why does Mr. Lieberthal cut and paste in his passwords from a thumb drive?

2. What was the most interesting point you found in the article that relates to controls for corporations with employees who travel abroad?

3. The article mentions that Federal lawmakers are considering bills aimed at thwarting cybertheft of trade secrets.  Discuss whether you think that this legislation could ever deter problems arising from business dealings abroad.



Perlroth, N. (2012). Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery, Feb. 10 (Retrievable online at (2012). Laptop Anti-Theft: Travel Identity Theft (Retrievable online at