Man this is infuriating... Dude goes to the bathroom on an airplane and his ipod drops out of his pocket into the toilet. What would normally be an annoying situation turns into yet another police state farce, now seemingly a daily occurance, in which an airplane is diverted to the nearest airport and the passengers and plane are dissected with a fine tooth comb by a bunch of authoritarian assholes who think that they write the law.
Included in this adventure is the now ubiquitous laptop examination for evidence of thought crime, which occured AFTER they had already determined that there was no threat to the aircraft!!
What the hell does the below have to do with preventing terrorist attacks!?
NOT A DAMN THING!
He then asked me to turn on my laptop. I did, and he began using it. I saw him open Spotlight and begin searching...
I waited in total silence for about 10 minutes as he kept searching and searching, until I finally asked him, "What are you looking for?"
"Contraband," he said without looking up at me.
"Child pornography, hate propaganda."
"Child porn I can understand, that's illegal. But hate propaganda is protected speech."
Now he looked up. "What country do you think you're in?"
"Oh, it's illegal in Canada?"
"I honestly don't know. But that doesn't matter. I get to decide what goes in this country. Do you have a problem with that?"
I paused for a long time while I thought about what I should say to this. "Yes."
"Yes, you do have a problem?"
"Yes, I do. If it's illegal in Canada I'll understand, but saying 'I don't want it in my country' isn't good enough when you're a government official."
Now he was pissed. "Don't fool around with me. I'm sure you want this to end as much as I do. So I will ask you questions, and you will answer. Do you understand?"
Having been chucked from Canada, I can say that... their customs agents are not reasonable of friendly. Then again, neither are ours. On the other hand, on a previous visit I was thorougly searched there, and the guy conducting the search was very friendly.
While I was waiting to be chucked from Canada, there was an Iranian lady two windows to the left of me. She was carrying a pouch full of passports and visa applications from Iran. They searched her and found them. Her story was that her sister worked for the Canadian embassy in a european city, and that she was carrying them on behalf of the Canadian embassy.
So first thing the lady does is grill her for an hour and make her cry by threatening to give the passports over to the Iranian embassy, possibly dooming the applicants to impisonment or worse and sending her back to Iran where she will be in hot water herself.
Then she goes back and checks her story. It all checks out. She is in fact carrying them on behalf of the embassy.
But thats not good enough. She grills her for 10 more minutes and makes it sound like she is going to hand the passports over to the Iranian embassy, because girl is not a courier and has no right to carry them and this may well result in deaths and/or imprisonment. Girl cries again. Then she says, "I could do that and it is my right to do so... however in this case I checked and your story is true and so we're gonna let you through."
I was amazed. Total authoritarian sadism. Fuck Canada. As a result of this experience, I am never returning to Canada under any circumstances. Anyway, the officer that escorted me out was really nice. I hear US customs are worse. In my experience, customs agents in general reflect the stanford prison experience to a T. Actual jailors are more polite and refined because there can be consequences when they abuse prisoners. No such luck with a customs agent. They can mercillesly fuck with you, and there's not a damned thing you can do you can do about it.
After reading about these notebook search shenanigans I started using filevault and set a screensaver password, and I hope soon to be in a position to afford the seizure of my notebook at a border.
RE: Face to Face with the International Authoritarian Police State