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American ( London) Consulate ban on mobile phones

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American ( London) Consulate ban on mobile phones

Old 25th Nov 2012, 08:23
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Last time I did it in London was about 5 years ago. Then they had limited locker space at the security gate, but I understand this has been done away with.

If you get the chance I'd go to Belfast. When I went through there about 8 years ago I was in and out in 25 min with no queues. Compare that to spending the whole day in London...
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 09:29
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This is a requirement for all visitors, as a citizen the same was required of me when applying for, then again while collecting my new passport...
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 09:39
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Does anyone here know if there is any good science behind this policy - is there any possible risk posed by a mobile phone inside the building, and if so, is it any greater risk than from a mobile phone outside the building.

Or is it just paranoia.........

I strongly suspect the latter, but have no definite scientific knowledge that would support that

(Also, does anyone know why this thread has not been promoted to Jetblast - as other far more Aviation content ones seem to be very rapidly these days. "Visiting the embassy to collect my crew visa" seems a fairly tenuous qualification to post in Rumours and News)

Last edited by farsouth; 25th Nov 2012 at 09:44.
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 11:57
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Originally Posted by farsouth
Does anyone here know if there is any good science behind this policy - is there any possible risk posed by a mobile phone inside the building, and if so, is it any greater risk than from a mobile phone outside the building.
Many mobile phones now double up as cameras. That may be one of the reasons.
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 16:02
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The US embassy in a European country used to ask visa applicants to surrender all electronic equipment even portable radios since 1980's. I seem to remember that the Israelis used a mobile to blow up some guys from the opposition in the 1990's.

Feel free to ignore the above.
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 18:58
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@cwatters: I had to get my us M1 visa in March of this year and I had to leave my mobile out. I left it in a locker at Waterloo. The girls standing checking everyone were already tired of saying "no mobiles" and this was by 10am.
Strange. I've since checked with my wife and her recollection is same as mine. We left at least a two phones, car keys with electronic fobs and our twins Nintendo DS at the security gate. We were renewing US passports.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 08:14
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Seriously, does it hurt that much to leave your phones/laptops/tablets at home for one day?
Keep in mind that we're talking about a US Consulate in Europe, for some of their customers (US tourists) home might be in a completely different continent. I really don't understand this policy, are they afraid of mobiles and car remotes being used to trigger a previously planted explosive device or about said devices themselves containing an explosive device?

If it's the former than this policy is total bollocks. If a terrorist has successfully planted a bomb in the Consulate, why would they visit the Consulate (thus possibly blowing themselves up in the process) instead of just triggering it from a safe distance, thus outside the Consulate's security perimeter? If it's the latter, then how much explosive could a modern mobile (we're not talking 70s dinosaurs here, modern mobiles are smaller than a cig pack!) or, even worse, a car remote contain and how much damage could it possibly cause?

It definitely sounds like paranoid bull****, unfortunately this wouldn't be the first case since 9/11.

Last edited by Dg800; 26th Nov 2012 at 08:15.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 08:53
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Quote:




Seriously, does it hurt that much to leave your
phones/laptops/tablets at home for one day?
Keep in mind that we're talking about a US Consulate in Europe, for some of
their customers (US tourists) home might be in a completely different
continent.
So, keep them in your hotelroom(safe).
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 09:05
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So, keep them in your hotelroom(safe).
That is not always an option, for example if you're currently "between hotels". The point is that many customers of a Consulate will be travelers and for them such restrictions can be quite a nuisance. The last thing a distressed traveler who for example just got his passport and cash picked at the local market would like to hear, is that they also have to get rid of their mobile in order to seek assistance at the local consulate (I've been there myself, but prior to the mobile phones and 9/11 era). Oh well, I'm sure the local shops will be more than happy with the booming mobile-and-keys-and-whatever-they-will-come-up-with-next safekeeping business this policy has generated.

Last edited by Dg800; 26th Nov 2012 at 09:09.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 09:20
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I really don't understand this policy, are they afraid of mobiles and car remotes being used to trigger a previously planted explosive device or about said devices themselves containing an explosive device?
It is not only that but also the intelligence risk. Lots of small electronic devices can be hidden inside cellphones and key fobs. Everything from hidden USB drives, audio recording, GPS tracking, video taping, and photos and more. A modern smartphone already carries many of these features. Foreign intel and terrorists would exploit this information. You guys should really watch more spy movies.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 09:33
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You forgot the explosive chewing gum (cue in Mission Impossible theme music).

Last edited by Dg800; 26th Nov 2012 at 09:33.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 09:57
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US embassy security

This security thing is not new I had a dose of it in Paris back in 2001, what they don't tell you is the list of banned stuff inside the Embassy listed on the website is not exhaustive.

To avoid the tube and traffic I went to the US embassy by motorcycle and was not admitted while I was in possession of a motorcycle helmet and an electrically heated jacket............ More business for the news agent down the road !

Last edited by A and C; 26th Nov 2012 at 11:32. Reason: Predictive text rubbish removed
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 11:22
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The local shopkeepers make a small fortune looking after your phones for you while you're in the embassy...
Yeah but their insurance premiums have probably gone sky high to cover the enormous risk
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:34
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Strange. I've since checked with my wife and her recollection is same as mine. We left at least a two phones, car keys with electronic fobs and our twins Nintendo DS at the security gate. We were renewing US passports.
Nothing strange here. You were a US citizen renewing your passport in a US consulate building so were in a different category to most people there.

Everyone else posting here is an "alien" (love the way the US use that word), applying for a US visa and as such are treated as possible/probable terrorists until proved otherwise.

Nothing will be stored for us "foreigners" by US staff and if you forget that you have any banned item, you will have to get rid of it before joining the back of a very long slow-moving queue, as I saw happening to one or two unfortunate individuals.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 21:38
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Seriously, does it hurt that much to leave your phones/laptops/tablets at home for one day?
Maybe, Life revolves around them these days, sadly ( I blame Bill Gates ) and if not pre-warned - is one ? - then it could be a serious inconvenience.

course - in my day we just gave our passports for renewal, visas, etc to crew scheduling and 'someone' was detailed to go to the various embassies, consulates or whatever with a bunch of them and we picked them up next time we were at the airport -easy.

I recently flew, legally, over the top of LAX in a Cessna 172, no flight plan or clearance required, no pre-flight security checks, or anything, just drove up to the hangar and went, electronic car key and cellphone in pocket. I say no more, use your imagination.

Until a couple of years ago LAX security ( no pun intended ) allowed people to board the shuttle bus in the staff car park without any check, then transported them airside. Maybe there was some sort of restricted access to the car park in the first place, but the Bad Guys could easily have got around that I guess. I think they've cottoned on to that one now.

Do you also have to remove your shoes before entering the Embassy ?

World's Gone Mad.
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 08:40
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Nothing strange here. You were a US citizen renewing your passport in a US consulate building so were in a different category to most people there.
I'm not a US citizen but was attending with a relative who is. I suppose that may account for it though.
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 16:33
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So you flew legally over LAX in a 125 - look what the US Air Force Attachés were doing in South Africa a few years ago:

Raytheon Beech 200 King Air
On 13 Apr 79 the South African Prime Minister, P Botha, announced that the Beechcraft C-12A (Super King Air 200) used by the American Ambassador had been used for reconnaissance activity over South Africa. The aircraft (reg: 60167) had been inspected by members of the South African security services who had discovered a hidden 70mm aerial camera under the pilots seat. They removed and developed the film which showed the aircraft had been systematically photographing large areas of South Africa including various sensitive military installations. South Africa expelled 3 American military attaches and demanded an apology from the USA, which was never given.

The US is obviously learning from itself!
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 18:15
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Originally Posted by icemanalgeria
last time I renewed my us visa was the same, I left my iPad iphone in the car in a car park then took the tube, when I got to the embassy my car keys was a problem, where Do you leave your car keys ?


When I returned to the car it had been broken into, I lost my iPad and iphone.
Your car was probably broken into a few minutes after you left it, by those who had watched from a distance who was stowing key items in their boot (crowbar open) or glovebox (break window).

Put them in there before you park in a public place.
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 20:42
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@farsouth

Security theater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 21:42
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Good link there SLFandProud - sums up my view of it anyway
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