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Technology & Photography

Safe Use of Technology Abroad

When you travel internationally, 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 that may attempt to steal it.

The use of unsecured or open networks, as well as the physical threats of damage to or theft of your devices are heightened during international trips.

Taking steps to prepare yourself before departure, and exercising the proper precautions while you are abroad, can help to mitigate some of these risks.  

Before departure, we encourage all travelers to view this short video to learn best practices around traveling with technology.

After watching, scroll down to the FAQs section of this page for more details! 


Before Travel Questions

How do I know if items, data or technology I'm taking abroad require export control considerations?

Export control considerations depend on many factors, including the item, data or technology being taken abroad, the destination country, etc.

In general, export-controlled items, data and technology are listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce Control list, at this link, or the U.S. Department of State's Munitions List, at this link.

If you have questions about whether export control considerations apply to your specific situation, or if you are a researcher who has projects with Technology Control Plans in place, please contact John Craddock before traveling, at


I know I should put the sensitive documents on my machine into OneDrive or SharePoint, but how do I know what counts as 'sensitive'?

As defined in Administrative Regulation 10:7, “Protected data” means data or information that has been designated as private or confidential by law or by the University. Protected data includes, but is not limited to, employment records, medical records, student records, education records, personal financial records (or other individually identifiable information), research data, trade secrets, and classified government information. Protected data does not include public records that by law must be made available to the general public. To the extent there is any uncertainty as to whether any data constitutes protected data, the data in question will be treated as protected data until a determination is made by the University.  

a. Private data - Private data is any information that the University is under legal or contractual obligation to protect. Examples of private data include employment, research, and student data.  

b. Confidential data - Confidential data is data that by law is not to be publicly disclosed. This designation is used for highly sensitive data whose access is restricted to authorized employees. Examples of confidential data include personally identifiable information in student education records, and personally identifiable non-public information about University employees.  

These categories of private and confidential data enumerated above are specific to data residing in University systems. Governing Regulation XIV.B.3, Confidentiality of Information, governs the release of information from the University to the public. 

How do I turn on multi-factor authentication?

For UK systems, you will need to call ITS Customer Services at 859-218-HELP (4357) to set up Two-Factor Log-In. If you have already enrolled a device, you can change your settings or enroll another device through Account Manager at

For non-UK systems, you can typically change the security settings to enable two-factor authentication, if available.

How do I encypt files on my machine?

Contact your IT representative or call ITS Customer Services at 859-218-HELP (4357). 

Where can I find appropriate anti-virus software to install on my machine?

Many University devices that are managed by ITS already have anti-virus software. If yours does not or you would like advice on anti-virus for your personal machine, you can contact

On-Trip Questions

What if a government official in my host country demands to search or seize my technology?

In the unlikely even that this happens, comply with the official's request. Once there has been a resolution and it is safe to do so, contact to inform UK of what has happened.

Post-Travel Questions

How can I rebuild my machine's operating sytem to guard against malware?

Contact your IT representative or call ITS Customer Service at 859-218-HELP (4357).

Taking Photographs & Videos Abroad

Taking photographs can be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of an international trip. However, it is important to keep cultural and legal considerations in mind, as norms around photography can differ greatly between countries.  

In some places, taking photographs of individuals (especially women) is considered culturally inappropriate and may cause offense. In other places, individuals may expect to be tipped if you photograph them. Even in places that are relatively similar to the U.S., such as Western Europe, it can be inappropriate to photograph the interiors of certain museums and religious sites, or to use selfie sticks. If in doubt, always ask before snapping a picture. 

Sometimes, there are even legal issues surrounding photography abroad. Never take pictures of military facilities. Depending on your destination country, it may also not be legal to photograph government buildings or certain religious structures. If you see a sign or receive a warning not to take a picture- heed it! Ignoring such restrictions can result in the confiscation of your camera, or even your arrest. 

 It is important to research the appropriate use of photography at your destination before you leave.