Google Glass and the Right to Remain out of Jail

Earlier this week Federal Agents detained a Google Glass user at movie theater. The crime? Allegedly illegally recording a movie with his Google Glass device. This first hand account is a very disturbing look into the Police State.

First of all, I think it was ridiculous for the AMC movie theater to call the Fed’s in the first place. I have a novel idea, how about simply asking your patron to not wear the glasses? And giving the man 4 free passes for his inconvenience? An innocent man was harassed for 3 three hours, and you give him 4 free movie passes? Lame.

About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.

Is this a necessary response to someone allegedly recording a movie?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This image was taken directly off the http://www.ice.gov; the agency which detained the Google Glass user. The mission statement of this agency is:

ICE’s primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.

I’m not sure how harassing movie goers fits into this mission statement. But I digress.

In reading this man’s first hand account of his encounter with big government my initial reaction was he was too nice. Too cooperative. Recently the folks who run online-paralegal-programs.com published this great info graphic on your right to remain out of jail. Being nice, honest, and cooperative works against you in this situation. The agents had already decided this man was guilty. They were there to build a case and arrest him.

I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding. I tried to explain that he’s holding rather expensive hardware that costed me $1500 for Google Glass and over $600 for the prescription glasses.

Mistake #1. Talking too much. You have a 5th amendment right to remain silent. Use it! This man’s best response would have been “Respectfully Officer, I don’t have to answer that.”

The response was that I was searched and more stuff was taken away from me (specifically my personal phone, my work phone – both of which were turned off, and my wallet).

Mistake #2 – Consenting to search. Best response – “I’m sorry officer, I don’t consent to searches.”

What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

Again – SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! The Feds are fishing and you’re tossing chum in the water! Going back to the info graphic, ask to leave. Often! The sooner you can end the detention, the better off you’re going to be.

Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean. I repeated for the hundredth time there is nothing to come clean about and this is a big misunderstanding so the FBI guy finally connected my Glass to the computer, downloaded all my personal photos and started going though them one by one (although they are dated and it was obvious there was nothing on my Glass that was from the time period they accused me of recording). Then they went through my phone, and 5 minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong.

The previous mistakes lead us to this point. The agents cannot access what is on the device without either a warrant or consent. In this case consent was given. Do you really want Federal Agents going through your personal pictures? Your personal emails? What if they find something else they deem ‘suspicious’? It is their job to find something to arrest you for. Consenting to searches is only helping them do their job. Which is to arrest you!

In summary, shut up, ask to leave, make them get a warrant to search you. These are your rights to keep you out of jail. Sure the agents will not be happy with you asserting your rights. I feel just awful for them when they cannot detain you further without probable cause. Its just SOOoooooo inconvenient for them to actually go through the work of getting a warrant.

The average citizen is honest and believes they have nothing to hide. Whether you have anything to hide or not, is not the point. You need to assert your rights to protect yourself from the Police State. Sadly that is the state of the nation today.


Obama Isn’t That Bad

Last night my friend declared “Come on, Obama isn’t that Bad!”.

No, I disagree. Obama really is “that bad”.  We have not seen an across the board failure in policy this bad since the Cater administration.

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
― Milton Friedman

Invoking the wisdom of Friedman, lets look at some of the results. A few days ago I read a this post about 83 Numbers from 2013 that “are too crazy to believe”.  Let’s consider a few highlights:

  • An all time record 102 million Americans do not have a job.
  • An record high 49.2% Americans receive money from the government.
  • The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.
  • If you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.
  • There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006. Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.
  • When Barack Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks. Today, it is 37.2 weeks.
  • Wal-Mart recently opened up two new stores in Washington’D.C., and more than 23,000 people applied for just 600 positions. That means that only about 2.6 percent of the applicants were ultimately hired. In comparison, Harvard offers admission to 6.1 percent of their applicants.
  • The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
  • The number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceedsthe entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

These statistics and trends are truly disturbing. There is no change on the horizon. The January jobs report showed an increase of 74,000 jobs (mostly temporary and part-time), but 347,000 people left the work force. Heroically the Obama Administration can claim the unemployment rate is improving…

It is true Obama did inherit a floundering economy from Bush. That was 5 years ago. Time to stop blaming Bush. This is Obama’s economy. And it is Obama’s recovery, which is pathetic.

Luckily Obama is calling 2014 ‘A year of Action‘. Whew! Maybe this will be the year when taxing the rich more, giving more tax payer dollars to those ‘in need’, and adding more big government regulations will start working. Clearly it hasn’t worked for the last 5 years. I guess the problem is we just have not been doing enough of these things over the last 5 years. I’m sure this year will be different.

No, Obama really is that bad.