Deleting Your Search History
This one seems innocent enough. After all, it’s your data, right? Not so fast, however. David Kernell, a student at the University of Tennessee was being investigated for allegedly hacking into the personal accounts of Sarah Palin, back when she was a candidate for the office of the Vice President. When he couldn’t produce his search history for the dates in question, it was enough to land him in jail while the matter was being further investigated. If that’s not scary enough, the nation of India briefly had a law on the books mandating that all users save all browsing data for a minimum of three months, but the law was repealed when the backlash and public outcry proved to be much greater than originally anticipated.
In Ethiopia (and thankfully, only in Ethiopia) it’s actually illegal to use Skype, or any VOIP service. Doing so can earn you a one-way ticket to an Ethiopian jail, for a minimum of one year. The exact rationale behind the new telecommunications law is unclear, but if you’re planning to visit the country, it’s definitely something you need to be aware of.
This doesn’t happen often, but it certainly can land you in hot water. Recently, in Thailand, authorities arrested an American citizen who translated an article on his blog, when the article in question was deemed to be “offensive to the autocracy.” It pays to be very careful about what you do and/or translate for publication on the web!
Gambling is, of course, illegal in a number of countries, and that includes participating in all forms of online gambling. If it’s a hobby or favorite pastime of yours, be advised that if you’re visiting a country where gambling is illegal, and someone checks your internet access logs, you could be spending time behind bars!
There are others, of course, but the bottom line is simply this: It pays to be mindful of what you’re doing online, and where you’re doing it. You never know when something you don’t even think twice about can land you in quite a lot of trouble.