Home / Science / Border Agent Demands NASA Scientist Unlock Phone Before Entering a Country

Border Agent Demands NASA Scientist Unlock Phone Before Entering a Country

A TSA representative checks in passengers. Photo: Getty

Sidd Bikkannavar is a natural-born US citizen who works during NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He’s also a inclusive traveler who found himself reentering a United States right as a controversial immigration ban took effect. For unexplained reasons, he was incarcerated and limit agents demanded entrance to his NASA-issued phone that could enclose rarely supportive information.

After he was released, Bikkannavar close down his Facebook until confidence issues could be worked out. When he was certain it was safe, he posted this explanation of a events that led to his amicable media blackout:



Sorry for a absence. On my approach home to a US final weekend, we was incarcerated by Homeland Security and hold with others who were stranded underneath a Muslim ban. CBP officers seized my phone and wouldn’t recover me until we gave my entrance PIN for them to duplicate a data. we primarily refused, given it’s a JPL-issued phone (Jet Propulsion Lab property) and we contingency strengthen access. Just to be transparent – I’m a US-born citizen and NASA engineer, roving with a current US passport. Once they took both my phone and a entrance PIN, they returned me to a holding area with a cots and other sleeping detainees until they finished duplicating my data.

I’m behind home, and JPL has been using forensics on a phone to establish what CBP/Homeland Security competence have taken, or either they commissioned anything on a device. I’ve also been operative with JPL authorised counsel. we private my Facebook page until we was certain this criticism wasn’t also compromised by a penetration into my phone and connected apps. we wish no one was worried. JPL released me a new phone and new phone number, that I’ll give out soon.

The Verge spoke with Bikkannavar and he explained that he was only returning to a U.S. after spending weeks in Patagonia racing solar-powered cars. It’s a hobby that landed him on a Chilean racing team.

He landed during George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on Monday, Jan 30th. After his pass was scanned he was taken to a behind room and detained. Bikkannavar says that no one would explain given he had been singled out though an representative asked him questions about his travels and his personal life. Then he was handed a request titled, “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and told that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol was legally authorised to hunt his phone.


Bikkannavar insisted that he wasn’t authorised to do that given a phone belonged to NASA’s JPL and he’s compulsory to strengthen access. Agents insisted and he finally relented. He still does not know given they stopped him or what they did with his data.

Hassan Shibly, arch executive executive of CAIR Florida, tells The Verge that many people who are shown a form giving CBP management to hunt their device trust that they have an requirement to assistance a agents. “They’re not thankful to clear a phone,” she says.



Considering a fact that tighter transport restrictions are dictated to make a U.S. safer, it seems peculiar to concede limit agents to vigour a supervision worker to exhibit secure information. It would seem that Bikkannavar’s box had zero to do with Trump’s Muslim anathema given he wasn’t roving from one of a limited countries. Is this only an normal day in a life of airfield security? CBP isn’t saying. We’ve reached out for criticism and will refurbish this post when we have some-more information.

[The Verge]

Article source: http://gizmodo.com/border-agent-demands-nasa-scientist-unlock-phone-before-1792275942