"We carry our scientific careers in our laptops. The behaviour of this idiotic cop could have destroyed a decade of work." If you carry a laptop while travelling that contains the only copy of a decade of work, you've got much bigger issues than the border guards. How about: failing hard drive, stolen laptop, file-deleting virus, filesystem corruption... I could go on, but basically there are dozens of ways your laptop could lose your decade of work if it never even leaves your office. If your work is important, and I'm guessing from your tone you think it is, then you should be doing regular backups at the best of times. Travelling to a foreign country would be something that should require a complete backup just before leaving for the airport.
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from the article: Police shoot U.S. student's laptop upon entry to Israel