Andreas Gal is an Apple employee who was returning from his business trip in Sweden last fall. Gal was carrying two company-owned devices- a MacBook Pro and an iPhone X. There was a sticker on the MacBook Pro stating “PROPERTY OF APPLE PROPRIETARY,” and the iPhone X lock screen flashed “CONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARY”.
Three Customs and Border Protection officers stopped Gal and asked him to unlock both phone and laptop. Gal mentioned this in a post on Medium, and he told them that he couldn’t do anything without the presence of a lawyer or his employer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement with Apple, and this prohibits him from doing what the officers asked him to do. He was not allowed to give access to anyone.
This request has led to the anger of customs officer, and they informed him that he does not have any right to speak to the attorney at the border even though he is a citizen of America. They threatened him not complying with their demand is a violation of the federal criminal code.
Gal wrote about this incident clearly in a Medium post with a heading “No one should have to travel in fear.” The officers let him go after an hour but disabled his Global Entry card which has given him so many privileges. They also gave him their supervisor’s number and told him to make his boss call.
Gal told the Washington Post that he has crossed US border so many times but never encountered such kind of situation in his entire life. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation from Northern California is filing a civil rights complaint. It isn’t the first time someone is facing issues with the government meddling into their professional lives. So many travelers have already complained about it, and now with this incident, it came into limelight.