I'm No @ioerror But the Border Still Broke My Phone To Silence Me

Yesterday upon returning to the United States from Canada, the United States Customs and Border Protections ruined my HTC One by breaking off the charger inside the phone. This was after I refused to delete recordings I had of them from the device.

As you may know if you read this blog and my personal stuff regularly, in the past I have had issues at the US border.

My girlfriend and I were detained for hours and interrogated by a couple of guys starting with the agent who “knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and just wanted to let me go…I just needed to answer a couple of questions” who later decided to make fun of me, and I guess embarrass me into submission (Good cop AND bad cop?) and then moving on to the firm guy who apparently was ready to have me arrested.

The core issue, it seemed, was they were upset is that I frequently have a recording device in my car recording at all times… I guess “if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” only applies to other people.

Of course, when you are caught on audio calling Fiat 500’s “gay” and also are sexually harassing your female coworkers… you might not want that to come out. You can listen to that here (Sorry it’s a little boring, but I don’t want to be accused of cutting the audio to make them sound bad).

They asked me if I would be willing to delete any recordings that I had on my phone. I told them that I wouldn’t be and the told me to sit down while they determined “what to do with me” only to make me wait another 30 minutes and give me my passport back and tell me I am free to leave.

Upon arriving at my car I found what they decided to do with me: I found my phone with the power attachment broke into it’s socket. I went home and tried to remove the power attachment with a pair of tweezers but apparently didn’t get it all out and my phone will not charge.

I can’t say for a fact that they intended to damage my device, but it was clear that I annoyed them by recording them. They don’t want the public to hear how much contempt they have for the people they are supposedly trying to protect. I do know that I went into this detainment with a fully working HTC One X and left with a 95% dead phone that I couldn’t charge.

They could have taken my phone and held it indefinitely, but that wouldn’t have had the same effect. Breaking the phone sends a message, it says “stop fucking with us”. This is my message back saying that I am not afraid of you…

Actually, I would like to thank them: I have been eyeing the MotoX (against many of my friends recommendations) as a replacement to my HTC One X which I don’t really care for that much. This event will allow me to get the new phone that I want.

I will never stop fighting, I am Little Brother watching you back.


  1. AeliusBlythe

    I wish that I could muster up even the tiniest little bit of surprise at this…….

    Sucks that they actually destroyed your property this time, and in such a useless way too. If they’d really had an argument for getting what was on your phone, they wouldn’t have let you drive away with it. Which means they were either:

    1) simply careless with civilian property for no particular reason, or
    2) deliberately being dickish.

    Neither of which would add one bit to my complete lack of surprise.

    1. asdf

      Such begins our long slip into a police state where freedom is a crime and secrecy is the way of life. No, it has already begun.

      1. Anonymous

        it hasn’t just begun, it has almost completed. why do i say that? because, for one thing, the act in the post. those responsible think it is a big joke that they can do what they like to whom they like AND GET AWAY WITH IT! it also shows that no one in charge or at a higher level gives a toss. if they did, they wouldn’t allow this sort of behaviour and would examine any complaints. instead, nothing is done and complaints used to light back garden fires!

    2. Ninja

      I’m guessing it’s both. I picture such people as frustrated, power-hungry morons that will abuse the little power they have over others, break stuff just to vent and be dickish when their almost absolute power over the citizenry will not work.

  2. Anonymous

    I’m feeling an urge to knock out a border guy and cross the border Asterix-style.

    Such a shame that I don’t have magic potion.

  3. Googla

    This is just really funny. A guy who hates surveillance records everything.

    1. Ninja

      A troll who fails at definition is way funnier. And individual recording his interactions is very, very different from the state or a private entity recording EVERY interaction everywhere. Notice that I’m not even considering metadata, something he can’t even put his hands on.

      1. Googla

        Ninja but what he has done is much worse, as he probably listens to a lot that he has recorded and that I can assure you is not something the NSA etc. do who probably records millions of conversations each hour and only listens to a small portion of it.

        And who has heard of a nerd who can’t fix a broken power plug?

        1. Ninja

          Pitiful attempt eh? Again, if he listens to HIS OWN interactions so what? I regularly record my own interactions on high profile meetings or personal meetings with people I know cannot be trusted (or I have not formed an opinion). It’s basic self-preservation. I don’t track your interactions, your location and everything else. I also don’t do it in massive scale. I can’t “connect dots” and pull made up stuff against anybody out of my ass. I’m not law enforcement and worse, I would not try to go past the law and do it without a warrant even if I were in the enforcing “business”.

          I hack the fuck out of my phone but I can’t do a thing hardware-wise. Poor doctors that are experts at health but keep having those pesky episodes of flu, back ache and the likes. They should be invulnerable!

          Yet another attempt to ignore the main point of the discussion. Keep trying, keep failing.

  4. Mr. J

    You may want to buy a broken phone from eBay, and then swap the parts out. YouTube shows many videos of how to disassemble the phone, so you may be able to get it up and running again for cheap.

    1. Mr. K

      It’s only cheap if you already have all the expensive tools you’re going to need, such as a soldering iron.

  5. aaron

    Repair the phone, recover the data. There’s places that do it and also only tutorials for how to directly solder a charger or do a reflow.

    1. Caleb Lanik

      This. Even without repairing the phone, it should be relatively easy to retrieve the data off of it. You might have to take it to a repair shop, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to remove the storage medium and copy the data on it to a thumb drive or HDD.

  6. […] I’m No @ioerror But the Border Still Broke My Phone To Silence Me […]

  7. Zirgs

    Looks like that the U.S. Border patrol is doing their job properly.

    1. gurrfield

      If the officers had nothing to hide, they had nothing to fear from their communication leaking. Oh, but that same rhetoric suddenly doesn’t apply to authorities does it?

  8. raincoaster

    Dude, what are you even doing going to that benighted country? Stay in Glorious Canuckistan and watch the Tea Partiers start the revolution. Remember: the people who start the revolution are never the people who finish it. Let them get the ball rolling and then when they’re out of ammo we can invade. None of them know how to fight with a hockey stick as a weapon!

  9. Kevin K. McAleenan

    Oh poor little kid… They’ve broken your toy. What you gonna do now, cry?

    If only there would be some way to avoid such issues in the future…

    Oh, how about this: Do NOT record government officials without their explicit written permission, especially if you want to use them in smear campaign against Government.

    Everything, and I mean *EVERYTHING* government does is by definition legal. Why? Because the government makes laws. If laws don’t fit to what we do, we’ll just make new ones that fits perfectly and apply those retroactively.

    You don’t mess with government unless you want to be YAJD (Yet Another John Doe/Yet Another Jane Doe).

    You need to listen to your Government and do everything as they say. And if one day US President proclaims White House is now black, White House is now black, even if no paint at all was applied to it.

    1. Obedient Authoritarian

      This! I’m tired of people thinking that the same rules apply to both themselves and the government, or even the very rich. Rules are for little people. If the government thinks it needs to shoot babies in their cribs, then those fucking babies must deserve it, and you have no business recording it, let alone actually doing something to stop it.

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