US customs have the power to seize your laptop or iPod when entering the country - even with no reason to do so.

Although this power has been in place for a while, the truth only recently came to light thanks to a group lobbying for the disclosure of the Department of Homeland Security policies.

We own your soul

Apparently agents can seize the items for 'unspecified amounts of time' and can share the information with the relevant authorities and private entities for data decryption and the rather ominous sounding 'other reasons'.

This basically covers all digital media, so it's best not to enter the country with a 1GB flash drive taped to your inner thigh…this is nothing to do with the story, it's just sound advice for life generally.

However, the results of going through your stuff have to be destroyed if there is no reason to keep the information after a review.

But if you've got over 1,000 illegally downloaded tracks on there…best get that old Walkman out for the next trip to the States.