Toronto-based 1Password has added a new ‘travel mode’ to its signature password manager.
The new feature is available to all 1Password membership users — the company says it can’t replicate the feature for legacy users who take advantage of Dropbox or iCloud to sync their account.
Travel mode takes some effort to enable as users need to visit the 1Password website to mark their vaults as either safe or unsafe to travel with. When the user then turns on travel mode, every password vault that isn’t marked “safe for travel” will be removed from their mobile device. Users turn on and off the mode via the 1Password website.
The feature is designed this way so that it’s not possible to deactivate travel mode directly from one’s mobile device or laptop. Moreover, the app doesn’t show any sign that it’s currently in travel mode.
In this way, 1Password users can comply with federal travel agents if they’re asked to unlock their 1Password account without compromising their privacy and security. Of course, that’s not to say travel mode is foolproof. Border agents can still ask 1Password users to unlock their account from the platform’s website, in which case the agent will have access to all of the individual’s accounts.
With 1Password Teams, the company’s enterprise offering, a single administrator can control what passwords employees can travel with, ensuring that their company’s data is secure.
Travel mode comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s recent Muslim travel bans. In January, Sidd Bikkannavar, an American-born NASA scientist, was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and pressured to unlock his phone, a smartphone provided to him by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). While Bikkannavar was required by his employer not to give anyone access to his device, he eventually relented and unlocked his device for CBP.