No Gadgets at the US Embassy for you, Pedro

Well it’s that time of the decade once again where I need to renew my US B1/B2 visa for those occasions when I have to drop in on the “land of the free.” I’ve made an appointment through the embassy’s web site. But after receiving some new instructions by e-mail, I’ve begun to wonder about how free that land really is.

Aye, here’s the rub. Quoting from the e-mail:

Security Advice: Please arrive one hour before your appointment time. You may not enter the Embassy with guns, cellular telephones, photographic or video cameras, electronics such as radios or other equipment, including computers. Please do not bring any type of electronic equipment.

For safety and security, applicants are no longer permitted to bring cell phones or other electronic devices into US Embassy grounds. There will be no storage facility for cell phones and electronic devices at the Embassy; applicants should leave their electronic equipment in a safe location off Embassy grounds during their appointments.

For the gadget hound, this means no mobile phones, iPods, iPhones, pocket game devices, Blackberry e-mailing or mobile internet surfing allowed while cooling your heels waiting for your interview. No listening to podcasts, no texting, no checking Twitter, or Facebook, or IM. Plus, absolutely no place to check in your gadgets.

This means if I pursue my plan to take a cab from Makati to Roxas Boulevard, I’ll need to leave my phone in the office and will remain incommunicado for the next 1 to 3 hours.

An inconceivable state of being in 2008, but there you have it.

Hey Joe, dats rilly a bad trip, you know?

8 thoughts on “No Gadgets at the US Embassy for you, Pedro

  1. I have most of the personal information in my Palm Treo. I can’t just imagine if the Consul asks of my TIN or SSS number, and I don’t have my PDA with me 😉

  2. That’s not even the worst part of it. US Customs agents can search, even copy the contents of your laptop even without particular suspicion.

    I’d say the terrorists won. They’ve managed to turn the US into an Orwellian state.

  3. What if you have a cellphone watch? does this mean that you are also not allowed to have a wristwatch if it is one of those MP3/MP4 or phone watch?

  4. Interesting. So now they’re scared of remote-controlled bombs the size of cellphones?

    I can see the next wave of sidewalk business outside the embassy: storage lockers guarded by muscled thugs.

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