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Lawyers demand answers after artist forced to unlock his phone

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posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:07 PM
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In February, artist Aaron Gach flew home to San Francisco after putting on a gallery installation in Brussels.

The show, titled Center for Tactical Magic, focused on “mass incarceration, government control, and political dissent”. Given that focus, depending on your attitude toward law enforcement and surveillance, it might seem ironic – or fitting – that US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) decided to interrogate Gach, to detain him, and to demand that he unlock and hand over his phone.

Lawyers demand answers after artist forced to unlock his phone

To me, this sounds like a clear case of CPB overreach. I wonder if someone that heard of or attended his gallery show and reported him to DHS as "someone of interest" and critical of government. After all, we, the people are constitutionally bound to question and criticize our govt (at least before DHS and the misnamed Patriot Act were created).

Some of the questions he was badgered with, repeatedly (even after him answering them) were:

  • So you were there for an art show?
  • Who invited you?
  • Is there anyone there that can verify this?
  • Do you have the name of anyone specific?
  • Do you have phone numbers for them?
  • Do you have emails for them?
  • Do you have any other contact information?
  • Are you sure?
  • Can you check your phone and see if there are any other contacts there?
  • Are you sure?
  • Can we check your phone to verify the info you provided?


That last question kicked off the issue over his phone. He then began asking his own questions, the last of which was:

  • As a US citizen, don’t I have equal protections under the Constitution regardless of whether or not I am in an airport or outside of one?
    To which the agent reportedly responded:
  • understand your concerns, and I’m hoping we can get you on your way as soon as possible. Of course you have a choice, but we can also be dicks and just take your phone as part of our investigations if we see fit.


He said, "...we can be dicks..." really? Very unprofessional discourse. I believe it though, and that open threat (i.e. coercion) triggered this person to unlock the phone and hand it over to the agent.

United States citizens do have rights, protected by the United States Constitution. One of which is protection from illegal search and seizure. This whole "constitution free zone" crap has GOT to end....here and now. There is no such place, if you understand and pledge to abide by and defend that document.

I am no big fan of the ACLU, but, in this case it seems they have stepped in to defend this person.


Six ACLU attorneys filed an eight-page administrative complaint, seeking answers from DHS, the parent agency of CBP.

According to the ACLU, after Gach unwillingly acquiesced, unlocked his iPhone and handed it over, CBP officers took it behind a dividing wall, out of view for almost 10 minutes, and thereby violated Gach’s constitutional rights.

The rights group says that searches at the borders have to comport with the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The ACLU says that Fourth Amendment protection of privacy rights of a cellphone were made clear in Riley v. California, a landmark 2014 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that the warrantless search and seizure of digital contents of a cellphone during an arrest is unconstitutional.


What say you ATS? Were the CPB agents (and the agency) justified in this case? I for one do not....and anyone put in this position should have the RIGHT to ask if they are being charged with a crime, what that crime is, and of they can speak to a lawyer. Anything less is totalitarian in nature and has no place in this country.



(post by dfnj2015 removed for political trolling and baiting)

posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:09 PM
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Retracted by me too.
edit on 5/11/2017 by Krakatoa because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:33 PM
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www.businessinsider.com...

Here is a good article on the touchy issue.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:36 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

But he's a U.S. citizen.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:40 PM
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originally posted by: Deaf Alien
a reply to: thesaneone

But he's a U.S. citizen.


And?

It helps to read the article.

First paragraph.



When you're entering the United States, whether at an airport or a border crossing, federal agents have broad authority to search citizens and visitors alike.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

It helps to read the article in the OP too.



After suggesting (to no avail) that he was a natural-born US citizen who had the same constitutional rights outside and inside border zones



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:45 PM
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This is the crux of my point. Even the SCOTUS cannot overrule the United States Constitution. Only going through the proper Constitutional amendment process by convening a Constitutional Convention can that be done.

There cannot legally be a place in the U.S. where someone can be searched without due cause or a warrant issued, neither their possessions seized.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:46 PM
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America was declared a constitution free zone some years ago. Started ramping up shortly after 9-11.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:47 PM
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a reply to: Deaf Alien

It dosent matter if you are a citizen or not.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:47 PM
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a reply to: eNumbra

Which the SCOTUS cannot condone (even though they, IMO ,did so illegally). I do not remember any Constitutional Convention being convened on this issue to amend it again.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:48 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

So our constitutional rights don't matter? I see.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

The only answer to any question to any agent of the gov't should be, "I don't have to answer your questions, Am I free to go?"



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: richapau

I believe asking "am I being charged with a crime?" is also acceptable.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:07 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

ummm no, they don't. Crossing the border does not magically suspend the fourth amendment.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:17 PM
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This administration is the first one in my lifetime (so far) where if you are critical of them or the government, you probably will be stopped and questioned at some point.

After bad experiences since Trump came into office, a few of my friends in Europe have decided to stop coming to the U.S. until Trump is out of office. I have my own experiences as well.

And all the while the people who support this admin call everyone else fascists.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:25 PM
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originally posted by: Masterjaden
a reply to: thesaneone

ummm no, they don't. Crossing the border does not magically suspend the fourth amendment.



www.propublica.org...



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:26 PM
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That's our freedoms being taken away right there. But you guys chose to only care about freedom when it's about Healthcare. LOL



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:28 PM
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originally posted by: underwerks
This administration is the first one in my lifetime (so far) where if you are critical of them or the government, you probably will be stopped and questioned at some point.

After bad experiences since Trump came into office, a few of my friends in Europe have decided to stop coming to the U.S. until Trump is out of office. I have my own experiences as well.

And all the while the people who support this admin call everyone else fascists.





During the 2016 fiscal year, CBP officials conducted 23,877 electronic media searches, a five-fold increase from the previous year. In both the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, the agency processed more than 380 million arriving travelers.



Hmm what about this administration?



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 02:31 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

What about it? How does what you posted invalidate anything I just said?



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