The officer also presented Bikkannavar with a document titled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and explained that CBP had authority to search his phone. Bikkannavar did not want to hand over the device, because it was given to him by JPL and is technically NASA property. He even showed the officer the JPL barcode on the back of phone. Nonetheless, CBP asked for the phone and the access PIN. “I was cautiously telling him I wasn’t allowed to give it out, because I didn’t want to seem like I was not cooperating,” says Bikkannavar. “I told him I’m not really allowed to give the passcode; I have to protect access. But he insisted they had the authority to search it.”
Apparently, it’s open season on the border now. I would love to know how TSA agents, who have in the past slipped through background checks as convicted felons have the security clearance and educational understanding to view and monitor confidential/classified documents.
Well, it looks like I’ll be traveling with written down information on how to contact ACLU lawyers anytime I want to travel internationally from now on. Might as well donate to them while we’re at it so they have enough resources when things get worse.