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TSA customs screening going over board?

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posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 06:26 AM
Last night I came back into the country after being in Europe for about a week. Everything was pretty smooth, until we got back into the states, and had to go through customs. Usually not a big deal, but this time was different.

First of all, out of 2-3 flights of people, only my friend and I, and an Indian couple had to go through the intensive screening - where they take your passports, and don't give them back until going through all of your stuff, and I mean ALL of it.

Again, this still isn't a big deal, because it's all to be expected, however the manner in which they went about it seemed to be strange. First, I was waiting for them to check my friend's luggage, so I'm just leaning on a railing watching them go through it. The lady inspector looks at me, and tells me I have to turn around, that I'm not allowed to watch. I mean, this is happening less than 20 ft away from me... not behind walls or anything. So I look at the TSA poster, and nowhere on it does it say you are required to face a certain direction, or that you can't look around. I guess brining that up didn't help, but it did seem like they were getting a bit pushy.

After they checked my friends luggage, they refuse to give him his passport back, and tell him to go wait in the lobby, so he can't watch them go through my stuff. He refuses to leave the room without his passport, since we was already screened. I guess that was a pretty big problem too, because once he said that, they tore all his stuff apart again and started going through it.

When it got to me, they did a number... insisted on opening every single camera lens I had and looking inside, very liberally.. until I told her that each lens she was manhandling cost around $2000 each, so then she started asking me to open the lens for her to see (apparently smuggling things inside of expensive camera lenses is a big thing these days?)

Ok, none of that really sounds too out of the ordinary - just extremely inconvenient. However, this next part is what still has me scratching my head. I had my laptop with me, and as usual they had me turn it on. I usually figured this was to make sure it was a real computer, not a bomb in a plastic laptop case or something. Apparently, that's not the deal anymore. After I turned my computer on and off about 3 times to their request (which ended up corrupting LOTS of files, and killed my registry), the lady takes my computer and starts going through folders and opening files.

This seemed way out of line, I mean I could be working on classified or NDA-related things, and she's just peeking around. I didn't say anything, since it hadn't helped me out so far.. and plus, the lady doing it was totally lost. She couldn't seem to get out of the "My Pictures" folder, which only had about 20 stock wallpaper images (waterfalls, leaves, fields, etc.) that came with my computer. Apparently, that didn't stop her from opening every single picture at least 5-6 times each, and analyzing each one as if there was a hidden blueprint within them.

I got to thinking, what the hell would she be looking for? Porn? Blueprints? Taboo subjects? If she did find porn, would she then start guessing the ages and legality of acts performed? If she found blueprints, would she have called an architect/engineer over to consult with?

I mean, other than an image in my "My Pictures" folder, with a jpeg of a complete assassination plan... or other than an image of child porn or something... what the hell was she looking for, and why? Do typical e-criminals keep their loose ends in the "My Pictures" and "My Documents" folders?

posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 07:23 AM
Right Click > Properties > Attributes > Hidden
She would have no idea about THAT one. That's advanced hacker l33t sk11lz!
Seriosuly, I hate situations like that. If I were you, I would have refused to turn around, and of course it would have all snowballed and I would've walked out of a room holding my buttocks. I just can't keep my mouth shut.
At least you made a stand on the lenses, and your mate on his passport.

posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 08:12 AM
well i did refuse to turn around the first few times asked, but then when more guys started coming out of the security room, I made a face and turned around.

I also forgot to mention that we were both pre-flagged to be screened it seems, because we went through customs 15 minutes apart from each other, and to different booths, yet we were the only two americans to be screened so thoroughly. I wonder how they make their selections. I mean, I gave up islamic extremism last month.

about the computer, I would have said something, but I already put all my files into folders within folders, and even then they are usually password protected or renamed to they won't open if double clicked. I never use the default locations for anything either. I doubt she would have found anything, other than some porn clips in my temporary cache folder, but I was actually hoping she would find something interesting.

Maybe next time I'll load my desktop up with lots of fecal porn. I'll have to check state laws first.

[edit on 23-12-2007 by scientist]

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