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This. And also people not having devices on their person means they can't quickly text friends/family if they get detained/mistreated/etc.

It seems like we're getting closer and closer to being in a situation where people who can should avoid going to the US at all, and make their reasoning known. Ie, refuse to give talks, attend conferences, etc. in the US.




This is already happening. I'm in Europe and I've heard quite a few friends (mostly academics) state that they're actively avoiding traveling to the US.


I have to admit some border crossing incidents[1] are what I would imagine entering North Korea would be like, not the US.

[1][10min audio] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDYMw1p8s9M


As someone from Canada, that guy was being a total dick, very aggressive, mansplaining the agent, which isn't surprising that it would trigger the customs agent. He would have had the same response from an agent at the border in Canada.

Ex: "what shops are you planning to go to". It's fine to answer "I don't know yet". They're just testing behaviour. If you start being defensive or aggressive, pretend to know their jobs better than they, etc, it's suspicious. Although yes, in general, the US agents are really bad at doing behaviour testing.

Anecdotal: Last year, I crossed the border a few times by car, visiting a friend I met on Tinder. I completely got away with it, giving honest answers at the border. Recently met someone else (a girl) who was stopped and accused of prostitution for doing the exact same thing. :/


Yes, well...

You may not understand quite how much most Americans hate CBP. I use "hate" here deliberately. It represents the worst part of our government and a codification of our racist laws and culture even at the best of times.

They find a way to weaponize ignorance and shame people who are different at every turn. They have tackled people and held them at gunpoint for LED shirts, they've publicly shamed women for having vibrators in their luggage, they've delayed flights because people speak Tolkien's elvish leaving comicon.

And their definition of sincere risk? Brown people or people who are different. They can detain Americans and non-Americans alike without due process and stories report they do just to make a point.

And the worst part? They are bad at their jobs. The FBI is a problematic institution as well, but at least they can point to data that suggests they're doing things here and there to actually foil people who genuinely want to cause domestic problems.

Even conservative Americans hate the TSA and CBP face to face. We're all scared of them, because we know they're stupid and bad at their jobs but terribly powerful.


No doubt! My general strategy for crossing borders is to expect to be hassled a little bit, and to accordingly make sure that I have a good amount of patience stored up ahead of time. It took him about 3 seconds to get irritated.


> "I completely got away with it"

No, because you didn't do anything wrong.

Border crossing is not a crime, last I checked, despite the best efforts of some to make it feel that way.


Agreed, I was being bitter/sarcastic. I meant to say that they incorrectly profiled the other person who was stopped.


It's a bit sad that such behavior is normalized to the point that such a trivial thing is escalated to someone being locked up. Maybe it's some kind of strange taste for masochism that I don't understand. I'm not trying to be offensive or anything, I really don't understand why is such a hostile, aggressive and demeaning behavior accepted as a norm.

Contrast that to this (6min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV-wgZBGfCo

None of those stories are that important in and of themselves, it's the whole normalized atmosphere of fear, guilt and almost agony that I don't understand.


When I cross borders I'm almost always very tired, very stressed, I feel dirty and nauseous. These are things that make handling other people difficult for me.

Of course there is going to be someone who reacts badly, but you would think that they have professionals at the border that know this, from what I've seen when disembarking in London there are people who know how to handle these things. I've seen the same situation being descalated in 10 seconds.

I'm guessing there is little pay and pride to be had for a border guard in the US, so little incentive for being anything else than a git.


Exactly how is the guy "mansplaining"? Seems like the term is now being used to every interaction between a men and a women if the men just doesn't accept absolutely everything the women tells him to do - no matter how idiotic - without arguing in is own favour.


On second thought, the cynic in me is saying you're just laying the groundwork for your next encounter with customs agents in case you have to hand over your online accounts :)


I rarely defend customs agents. I'm sure they could flag me just by looking at my public twitter posts, which use my real name. I have already decided to avoid the US anyway.

However, Canada can be just as bad. Bottom line: know the law, be polite/calm, travel light, be honest but keep answers at a minimum. Unfortunately, since I travel often for business, that means I've spent way too much time at social events exchanging about travel tips, rather than actual productive conversation. It's also silly that we're adding barriers instead of removing them. What a waste :(


I started doing this 10 years ago, the recent changes haven't made me want to reconsider.


Closer and closer? How about it's already happened.

I just visited some of my friends in Japan, many of whom wanted to visit me in the US once their children got a bit older, and they all said they are straight up frightened of simply trying to enter the US. These are some of the most upstanding people you can meet with jobs like being teachers, government employees, etc. They are the last people who should be afraid of being found as suspicious persons, yet the reality is that based on what they see in the news, I can't blame them.


Here's the thing about leaving Japan: it's always way more dangerous than staying in Japan. US homicide rate is like 10x higher. I'd bet your "upstanding" friends have layers of reservations about visiting.


Japanese crime rates are underreported, and in reality most likely very similar to northern European countries in term of safety (and many other things, such as birth rate, another oft repeated misconception).

Popular culture likes to portray Japan as a weird outlier country- but that's only if you compare it to the US. If you include the aforementioned European countries in the comparison, the US is the weird country.


I dno about comparable to northern Europe. Stockholm, Sweden has recently had a huge burst in deadly shootings, and a Swedish official got caught in trying to lie to the BBC saying that rape is decreasing in Sweden. Official statistics show an increase between the last two data points, the last one being from 2015 or 2016 if I recall correctly.

I have bit heard anything of the like in Japan, but as you say it could be because they don't have the same measures/report rate we have, or that I don't check Japanese statistics as much.


And the U.S. violence rates are really skewed. If you remove about half a dozen large cities, the U.S. rate for homicides, etc., is much more in line with the rest of the first world.


Certain crimes are under-reported, but on the whole even accounting for that crime rates are significantly lower for the sorts of petty crime that impact most people.


Crime rate in the US is not an issue, but when talking about travelling in to the US advice like leaving your phone at home etc is quite common. That does influence some people, not to a big degree yet, but it's not getting better atm is it?


The report said that cellphones are allowed. Agree with the avoiding US part. I'm currently reading a book on the state of physics under the third reich and the parallels on the state looking inwardly are chilling.


What's the book?


I cancelled my participation in a free software conference this year, but I doubt it will be much noticed except by the core team (I help with internationalization). I also didn't make too much noise about it, not to harm the event/community. Most of our European partners already do not bother going to the US and organise their own conference.

You may notice is less and less diversity, but it's already pretty low, and we're often not very good at noticing that.


Cell phones are excluded from the ban, according to this article. That makes it highly unlikely that prevention of ability to text is the goal. I know very few people who text on their tablet, laptop, or camera.


Cell phones are most likely excluded because they're so obnoxiously hard to compromise compared to laptops. Cell phones, you need per-hardware exploits and the vendors patch aggressively.

When was the last time your laptop's USB controllers had a firmware upgrade for security hardening?


That's a reasonable argument if the goal is being able to examine the devices. Nothing to do with texting, though. ;)


They already confiscate devices. I'm not sure that there is much to be gained by banning phones. The absence of a report coupled with the publicly available info of landing is probably enough to signal trouble.


Cell phones are excluded from the ban, according to the article.


For now. According to the article.


interestingly, you see airlines moving away from in-flight entertainment screens in the seat in front of you, in favor of BYOD. A logical move: let the clients bring their equipment (they bring it anyway) so you don't have to (install, maintain, spend fuel on, etc.).

Now with airlines actually removing in flight entertainment, flying from the Middle East to New York can be quite a long trip: no laptop to watch a movie, no screen in front of you.

I guess the US will stop banning as soon as one of these policy-makers is on the same flight as a few bored kids ;-)


Maybe people will have to read books?!


True, it some like myself can't read on a plane due to motion sickness. Watching a video is fine, but not focusing on text.


My mum noticed that if she sets her kindle to 2 or so sizes larger text, she doesn't get motion sick any more.


I've never finished reading more than a page in a moving car without feeling nauseous.


Yes. I love to read books on a 17 hour flight instead of being able to watch TV shows, work on programming problems offline or the countless other productive things that a laptop can provide.


That would be great if airlines provided standard power outlets and/or USB ports.


Canada Air does! It's great.


Trump will flip-flop on this mercurially 7x before breakfast while watching the "PDB" on TV (aka Fox and Friends).


> It seems like we're getting closer and closer to being in a situation where people who can should avoid going to the US at all.

For me already well past that point, no way would I travel to the US for any reason, work or pleasure.

I'm from the UK and I'm seriously contemplating getting out of here while the going is good as well.




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