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?
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.