[telecom] Google Glass-wearing movie patron questioned by Homeland Security agents as potential pirate

Google Glass-wearing movie patron questioned by Homeland Security agents as potential pirate

By Adi Robertson January 21, 2014

Wearing Google Glass recently proved perilous for a movie patron in Columbus, Ohio. On Monday, The Gadgeteer posted a frightening story apparently from a member of the Glass Explorer program. An hour into watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit wearing his prescription version of Glass, he said, he'd been abruptly pulled from the theater and interrogated at length by "feds," who accused him of attempting to pirate the movie by recording it.

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?). [...] 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.

After going through the photos on his device, the man says, the officers concluded that there'd been a misunderstanding, and theater owner AMC called a man from the "Movie Association," who gave him free passes to see the film again. But the man described himself as shaken by the incident, especially because he'd worn Glass to the theater before and had no trouble. The story initially seemed too dramatic to be true, but both AMC and the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division have confirmed it. Here's what AMC public relations director Ryan Noonan told The Verge:


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***** Moderator's Note *****

What is ICE doing questioning people who aren't crossing a border?

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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ICE ("Immigration and Customs Enforcement", which is now part of Homeland Security) is tasked, among other duties, with investigating ... copyright issues.

Quoting from their web page [a]

"ICE HSI is the largest investigative arm in the Department of Homeland Security with 6,700 special agents assigned to more than 200 cities throughout the United States and 47 countries around the world.

"ICE HSI special agents investigate and enforce violations of federal trademark, copyright and patent laws..."

- note that this doesn't have to be "at" the border, and, for that matter, the "border" extends a hundred miles from any crossing. Which means (as currently envisioned), all those Asterisks that limit the Bill of Rights at the border crossings can be applied pretty far inland.

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Reply to
danny burstein
+--------------- | ***** Moderator's Note ***** | What is ICE doing questioning people who aren't crossing a border? +---------------

As I understand it [mainly from reading the firestorm resulting from this case]:

  1. Federal law allows ICE, CBP, a few others additional powers "near" a border, see:

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... The border search exception is a doctrine of United States criminal law that allows searches and seizures at international borders and their functional equivalent without a warrant or probable cause. ... Despite federal law allowing certain federal agents to conduct suspicionless search and seizures within 100 miles of the border, the Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies only at international borders and their functional equivalent (such as international airports).

  1. One report claimed that Columbus, Ohio, is (just barely) within that distance of the Canadian border. [But Google Maps says it's ~120 mi to the border (in the middle of Lake Erie).]

  1. ICE shares responsibility for copyright investigations and enforcement, see:

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Obviously it's a stretch, and legally on shakey grounds, but I suspect that's the story they would be sticking to.


+--------------------------------------------------------------+ Rob Warnock 627 26th Avenue San Mateo, CA 94403
Reply to
Rob Warnock

On Tue, 21 Jan 2014 23:39:32 -0500, Moderator asked:

Well, in NM and AZ, at least, they're ascertaining whether people about 250 north of the Mexican border, and aimed north, might perhaps *have crossed* a border illegally. Nothing to worry about, if you're a US citizen, 'cuz US citizens require no documentation -- *unless* ICE won't readily believe you're a US citizen, in which case it's helpful to have with you the sort of documents US citizens are said not to require, e.g., US birth certificate, or US Citizenship/Naturalization paper, or US Passport.

In cinemas, on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure :-) . Cheers, -- tlvp

Reply to

The agents who are doing this are probably *not* the ones who were trained in apprehending illegal immigrants.

My guess is that this came about as part of the consolidations that occurred when Homeland Security was created after 9/11. When this responsibility was transferred to ICE, I'll bet they also transferred agents or trainers from the FBI.

Reply to
Barry Margolin

My encounter with ICE:

I volunteer with a non-profit group named Friends of Brazoria Wildlife Refuges based in Brazoria, Texas. We support three National Wildlife Refuges located along the Gulf Coast in Brazoria and Matagorda Counties. We raise funds and do hands-on stuff like building boardwalks and maintaining trails. I serve on the board and run the website.

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The three refuges are part of the Fish & Wildlife Service's Southwest Region, based in Albuquerque. A few years ago, the southwest region headquarters staff sponsored a two-day "Getting to Know You" meeting in South Padre Island, Texas, a three-hour drive south of Brazoria near the Mexican Border. FWS employees and Friends-group volunteers were invited. Another Board Member, a guy named Phil, and I attended the meeting. We drove down to South Padre in Phil's pickup truck.

On our way back -- driving north on US77 -- we were stopped at an ICE control station. We were told to get out of the truck and sit on a bench. Two or three ICE employees, with sniffing dogs, went around the truck, inspected the interior of the vehicle and the truck bed. Finally they told us that they had found some marijuana. Phil -- wisely, I think -- just said ok, didn't deny it and didn't confirm it. They didn't show us whatever-it-was that they thought was marijuana.

At that point most of the employees went inside their little office building, leaving one guy outside to guard us. Several minutes later they came out and told us we were clear to leave. We got back in the truck and continued home. Phil claimed to me that he had never used marijuana, and I believe him.

To this day, we've never been able to figure out what was going on. I can't imagine that Phil and I -- two elderly fat guys in Cabela's shorts and Fish-and-Wildlife volunteer hats -- looked much like drug runners. I guess they must have been running background checks on us while we were sitting on that bench while the guy with the gun kept a close eye on us.

Anyway, we got home safely. Your tax dollars at work.

Neal McLain

***** Moderator's Note *****

This is telecom related for two reasons:

  1. The ICE personnel were able to check the truck and its occupants out even though they were probably out-of-range of any public WiFi or other "Internet" connectivity. "Two-way" radios help, but they're nowhere near to having a portable data terminal that can tell an officer in the field the VIN, the mileage at the last inspection, or the last time the owner bought tires.

  1. There's only so much that on-the-spot electronics /can/ do: when they said "we found marijuana", they were hoping that one of the "suspects" would glance toward the truck. There is, as yet, no machine that can check for *that* reaction at *that* moment.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Neal McLain

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