I just read this article by Bruce Schneier on what to do about US Customs searches: Taking your laptop into the US? Be sure to hide all your data first
So, if you look at part of his recommendations, they are:
So, if you look at the two recommendations above, he actually tells you to lie at the customs control and try to hide data away from the officials… So, he suggests that you are committing a crime. Pretty risky game, isn't it.
Well, to be fair: He gives another advice as well, which is using a forensically clean notebook and download the data from you corporate network once you crossed the border. This is a legal and safe practice.
Do not get me wrong: I do not like the rules of the US customs at all – not that they are alone, other countries do the same – as they simply are not on the standard for a developed country with a sound legal system. I do not have a problem if they search a notebook based on a court ruling with reasonable suspicion. But to do it just because the officer at customs had a bad night and does not feel well is not up to the standard the US measures the rest of the world.
This is no reason however, to become commit a criminal activity.