I've recently been to the US Consulate where they ask you to leave your phone at the security check before entering the premises. Likewise you're not allowed any electronics, no matter how harmless.

But what is the rationale for this policy? What kind of damage can you do with your phone?

  • Just curious, Is that true in every US consulate ? – Max Oct 6 '17 at 14:55
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    In Germany you can't even leave your smartphone at security. – tjati Oct 6 '17 at 19:35
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    Consulates are notorious for treating the general public (especially foreigners) as dirt. They simply don't care one iota about inconveniencing you. In fact, they like to inconvenience you because it them a greater sense of their power over you. – Michael Kay Oct 6 '17 at 23:21
  • @tjati just as well, I would not trust any consulate with my phone. – Spehro Pefhany Oct 7 '17 at 3:09
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about travel. – fkraiem Oct 7 '17 at 8:11

You can take pictures, which:

  1. Show the internal layout, where people sit, etc.;
  2. Show the people that work there, which allows to identify them,
  3. It could be a remote bomb - you just leave you cell lying under the chair or wherever, and later remote detonate it;
  4. It would be incredibly annoying if you have dozens of people in there, all shouting on their cell phones, mixed with oh-so-funny loud ringtones, and so on.

Would you want to work with that?

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    Point (d) would apply to many people working in customer-facing desk environments, like in post officers, banks, train stations, airports, etc. – gerrit Oct 6 '17 at 13:36
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    Post offices don't have the power to refuse people with mobile phones. If they had, they would :-) Consulates have more power. – gnasher729 Oct 6 '17 at 16:14
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    For points 1 and 2: All skilled sketch artists should also be banned then :-) – Aditya Oct 6 '17 at 18:11
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    @NeanDerThal. The reasons make perfect sense: #1: Planning/guiding a precision attack on the building itself, #2: Blackmail/targeted attacks outside the consulate, #3 Direct use as a weapon. #4: Giant pain in the behind. – Mad Physicist Oct 6 '17 at 19:57
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    @Aditya You can not hide a skilled sketch artist in the consulate and collect his or her sketches at a later date - allowing you to see what happens after public hours. However, despite that there are valid security reasons the real reason is that the consulate has something you want and you don't have anything they want - so you have to kowtow. – emory Oct 7 '17 at 2:48

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