Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Safety/Security > Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 25, 12, 9:19 am   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 311
Mugged by TSA in San Juan PR

I almost got arrested yesterday and my camera was seized by TSA...
I believe it is legal to videotape in the airports in the USA, with the exception
of behind the X ray scanner or coming into customs. In fact, the TSA website says most videotaping is not illegal or prohibited....
What happened:
I was in the San Juan aiport at noon (Sept 24) heading for St. Kitts.
I videotaped (Canon Power Shot) the podium where they make you show the passport/boarding pass, as I approached and then the next area with the X-ray scanners. It was busy. One TSA woman told me to stop from about 20 feet away. I didn't.
They all seemed intrigued I wouldn't follow their orders.
A TSA guy soon approached me and said I had to stop. I kept the video going and said "Sorry, it's a Constitutional right." He said "Okay" and walked back, a little indignant, to the X ray area.


When I went through X rays they were wating for me. Two uptight TSA ladies rolled up on a cart and approached me. I grabbed my camera and started rolling; I wanted to capture the conversation with them, expecting a browbeating. One of them approached me and violently ripped the camera from my hands. I was shocked and told her to give it back and lunged for my camera. They took my camera and passport and boarding pass and ran off
to some corner to confer with one another. A police officer approached and asked where I was from.
I said California. The conversation went like this:

Me: "I'm from California. WHy?"
Him: "Well, each State has its own rules."
Me: "BUt this is TSA. A Federal agency. Therefore these 'State laws' don't apply. Besides, the First Amendment of the Constitution trumps state rules."
Him : "Not in Puerto Rico. You might end up in Court here."
Me : "Puerto Rico belongs to the USA."
Him: "This is an airport. You can't just videotape people. You need permission."
Me : "Nonsense, this is a public arena. There is no permission required or any expectation of privacy here."
Him: "No, Puerto Rico is not like the States. There are local laws that have nothing to do with the way they do things in the States."
Me: "Look, let's just agree to disagree. I don't believe anything you say. You're just covering for the TSA. I want my camera back.
She stole it. I want her to give it back right now."
Him : "She didn't steal it. She just confiscated it because you violated the rules."


The TSA lady reappeared with my camera, passport, boarding pass. I took it and started to walk away (by now pissed off) when I noticed the camera would not go on. I looked at the cartridge/memory chip slot and it was gone. They had stolen it!
I showed the cop and said, "Look I want my cartridge (with 200 or so personal photos) back or I'll call a lawyer and 911 to get more cops.
This is outrageous!" He seemed to be aware I was getting upset and the TSA ladies scurried off with the cop and came back 2 minutes later with the
cartridge. "It must have fallen on the ground" said the cop. Yeah, right. Predictably all the videos of them giving me a hard time were deleted. The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes.
I have not recorded any photos or images since this event....


Any advice will be welcome. If I can recover those videos they will be very interesting to people.
I really hope I can recover them and/or get the aiport footage from their cameras.... I still can't believe what happened.
yandosan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 9:23 am   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 37
Ask & Ye Shall Receive!!!
APHPAPHP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 10:11 am   #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,974
Quote:
Originally Posted by yandosan View Post
Any advice will be welcome. If I can recover those videos they will be very interesting to people.
I really hope I can recover them and/or get the aiport footage from their cameras.... I still can't believe what happened.
It's easy to recover them. There are dozens of programs to do so. Just do a search.
RichardKenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 11:59 am   #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: halfway between JFK and LGA
Posts: 859
there are a bunch of programs out there that will recover files from things like SD cards. i had one come up as 'unreadable' a year or so ago and ended up being able to recover everything. sorry, don't remember the utility that i used.

just do some googling, you'll find something.
squatch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 12:29 pm   #5
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: FLL/YYZ/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, SPG Platinum, Hyatt Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 27,387
Once you find it, please post the videos to Youtube and share the link here
__________________
Try Global Elite for discounted luxury travel - www.globalelite.us
bocastephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 3:27 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Retired in Houston, TX
Programs: Platinum-CO-DL-Priority Club WN A-list Diomond-Hilton-BW Gold-Choice Hertz Presidents Club
Posts: 297
I use a free program called RECUVA. I've used it a lot to recover files I accidently deleted.
Houston.Business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 3:37 pm   #7
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI
Programs: US Dougie's Preferred, UA Gate Louse, HH Diamond, National Emerald Club, TSA Disparager Gold
Posts: 13,967
You should be able to use the demo/lite version of FTK. It only allows you to process 5k files at a time, but on an SD card that shouldn't matter.

It's a nice little forensics tool that should help you recover deleted info.
__________________
2014 US Upgades as a CP: Total 28/28. Short Haul 15/15, Midcon 8/8, TCON 5/5 | AA: 4/5
Superguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 10:43 pm   #8
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Anywhere I can hide from Delta's "enhancements"
Programs: DL PM Kryptonium Ham Sandwich GAMER, UA Plat, US, PC Plat, IHG Amb., SPG Gold, HH Gold, Nat'l Exec
Posts: 11,002
+1. Get a program like recuva and recover those deleted videos. Important: don't write anything else to the card in the meantime.
__________________
SkyMiles Devaluation Alert: RTW Awards Killed Effective 1/1/2015. See: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...oing-away.html
javabytes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 12, 11:16 pm   #9
mkt
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Puerto Rico
Programs: AA PLT; B6 Mosaic; CM/UA 1P; VS Silver; Emerald Club Executive; Europcar Elite VIP, Amex MR
Posts: 3,151
Puerto Rico is US property, but is not part of the US. And we have a completely unique culture, which while compatible with US culture, is separate from it. Among those cultural elements are our own laws, our own constitution, and our own legal system. Oh, and we speak Spanish and use the metric system (except for MPH)

That's the distinction one needs to remember when down here.

And after showing this thread to 3 different local attorneys:
  1. Believes that the OP violated the TSO's right to privacy under Article 2, sec 8 of the Puerto Rico, since while they may be government employees, they are not considered public figures (elected). He said if this were to go to local court, you'd lose - you'd have to take it to federal court to have a chance of winning.

  2. Believes that only government can infringe on a persons rights. However, they also believe that a case might exist where the TSO can sue to OP. Her words.. "he's fu**ed", and she cited this from the TSA's own website:
    Quote:
    While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might.
    And while not 100% certain, she believes that there is a local regulation that also prohibits video at SJU.

  3. Believes the TSO's right to privacy was violated, but cannot be sure until a court decides.

In short, Puerto Rico is not the right place to test your rights. You might end up in jail and losing in court. If you want US justice, take it to federal court.
__________________
10 PRINT "Bite Me!"
20 GOTO 10

Last edited by mkt; Sep 25, 12 at 11:39 pm.
mkt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 12:42 am   #10
Ari
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 10,341
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkt View Post
Puerto Rico is US property, but is not part of the US. And we have a completely unique culture, which while compatible with US culture, is separate from it. Among those cultural elements are our own laws, our own constitution, and our own legal system. Oh, and we speak Spanish and use the metric system (except for MPH)

That's the distinction one needs to remember when down here.

And after showing this thread to 3 different local attorneys:
  1. Believes that the OP violated the TSO's right to privacy under Article 2, sec 8 of the Puerto Rico, since while they may be government employees, they are not considered public figures (elected). He said if this were to go to local court, you'd lose - you'd have to take it to federal court to have a chance of winning.

  2. Believes that only government can infringe on a persons rights. However, they also believe that a case might exist where the TSO can sue to OP. Her words.. "he's fu**ed", and she cited this from the TSA's own website:

    And while not 100% certain, she believes that there is a local regulation that also prohibits video at SJU.

  3. Believes the TSO's right to privacy was violated, but cannot be sure until a court decides.

In short, Puerto Rico is not the right place to test your rights. You might end up in jail and losing in court. If you want US justice, take it to federal court.
Those lawyers don't seem to pay any mind to the fact that courts (multiple Circuits) now recognize a First Amendment right to video/audio record in public places. These are recent cases to be sure, but if such a First Amendment right does exist, it applies to the TSA in Puerto Rico the same as it applies to them in California thanks to the 14th Amendment). And the Unites States Constitution trumps Puerto Rican privacy laws and local regulations in the case of a conflict, of course. The fact that a law is on the books does not mean that law is valid in any circumstance, and that may be the case with these so-called privacy laws in the context of filming in a public place.

I know Puerto Rican government agencies-- namely the police-- act as if they can play by a different set of rules when it comes to constitutional rights, but the United States Constitution actually does apply down there even if they'd like it not to. I wonder if the lawyers you brought this to ever once considered the First Amendment, or just went straight to looking at PR laws. You mention the Puerto Rican "culture"-- that culture might include judges ignoring the US Constitution which might be why the three lawyers omitted any discussion of it.
Ari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 7:24 am   #11
mkt
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Puerto Rico
Programs: AA PLT; B6 Mosaic; CM/UA 1P; VS Silver; Emerald Club Executive; Europcar Elite VIP, Amex MR
Posts: 3,151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari View Post
Those lawyers don't seem to pay any mind to the fact that courts (multiple Circuits) now recognize a First Amendment right to video/audio record in public places. These are recent cases to be sure, but if such a First Amendment right does exist, it applies to the TSA in Puerto Rico the same as it applies to them in California thanks to the 14th Amendment). And the Unites States Constitution trumps Puerto Rican privacy laws and local regulations in the case of a conflict, of course. The fact that a law is on the books does not mean that law is valid in any circumstance, and that may be the case with these so-called privacy laws in the context of filming in a public place.

I know Puerto Rican government agencies-- namely the police-- act as if they can play by a different set of rules when it comes to constitutional rights, but the United States Constitution actually does apply down there even if they'd like it not to. I wonder if the lawyers you brought this to ever once considered the First Amendment, or just went straight to looking at PR laws. You mention the Puerto Rican "culture"-- that culture might include judges ignoring the US Constitution which might be why the three lawyers omitted any discussion of it.
I'm not arguing with you, but since we're not a US state (and I pray we never become one), remember that the US constitution does not apply in its entirety. What the judge will weigh is which matters more: free speech, which are guaranteed by the US an PR constitution, vs right to privacy, which is guaranteed by the PR constitution.

Given our culture and history (yes culture, not "culture"), a local judge would likely side to the right to privacy, especially when the OP was asked to stop. But a federal judge in Boston will likely say the free speech. That's pretty common here- if you want US justice, you go to federal court; if you want PR justice, you go to local court.

In PR, our current penal code actually restricts free speech (you may not offend a politician in session or at a public event - I'm not kidding). The first arrests were handed down to activists from an opposition political party. I want this to go to federal court. I really do want my island .....slapped by a federal judge and told "YES, THE FIRST AMENDMENT APPLIES."
__________________
10 PRINT "Bite Me!"
20 GOTO 10

Last edited by mkt; Sep 26, 12 at 7:29 am.
mkt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 7:42 am   #12
mkt
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Puerto Rico
Programs: AA PLT; B6 Mosaic; CM/UA 1P; VS Silver; Emerald Club Executive; Europcar Elite VIP, Amex MR
Posts: 3,151
Also.. thinking more about this, Puerto Rico is very much a narco-state. With the large number of prior drug trafficking arrests at SJU, I wouldn't doubt that the TSO was on the take to let drugs through, and didn't want to appear on camera.

Maybe by erasing, they ensured that both the TSO and the OP didn't end up floating face down in the atlantic?
__________________
10 PRINT "Bite Me!"
20 GOTO 10
mkt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 8:06 am   #13
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 9,077
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkt View Post
Also.. thinking more about this, Puerto Rico is very much a narco-state. With the large number of prior drug trafficking arrests at SJU, I wouldn't doubt that the TSO was on the take to let drugs through, and didn't want to appear on camera.

Maybe by erasing, they ensured that both the TSO and the OP didn't end up floating face down in the atlantic?
But TSA employees are ethical and honest. They say so!
Boggie Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 8:14 am   #14
mkt
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Puerto Rico
Programs: AA PLT; B6 Mosaic; CM/UA 1P; VS Silver; Emerald Club Executive; Europcar Elite VIP, Amex MR
Posts: 3,151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
But TSA employees are ethical and honest. They say so!
But my speculation may have proven that for once, a TSO had safety and security on their mind!

Namely their own safety and security, but it's still safety!
__________________
10 PRINT "Bite Me!"
20 GOTO 10
mkt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 12, 8:16 am   #15
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Somewhere between here and there...
Programs: WWF, Appalachian Mountain Club
Posts: 10,984
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkt View Post
I'm not arguing with you, but since we're not a US state (and I pray we never become one), remember that the US constitution does not apply in its entirety.
How is this possible? The Constitution is an established, vetted and well tested document. How can PR selectively apply it or use alternate interpretations as they see fit? It kind of marginalizes the ultimate law of the land.

Then again, the TSA/DHS has been increasingly doing all of the above for a decade now, right here in the lower 48/AK/HI.
tkey75 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 7:23 pm.