1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

New Zealand customs officials can now demand travelers hand over their device passwords

By midian182 · 20 replies
Oct 2, 2018
Post New Reply
  1. Changes in New Zealand’s Customs and Excise Act 2018 (PDF), which went into effect yesterday, now mean that in addition to searching a person’s phone, laptop, or another electronic device, border agents can "require a user of the instrument to provide access information and other information or assistance that is reasonable and necessary to allow a person to access the instrument."

    Border officials still do need “reasonable” suspicion that they will find something on a device before performing a ‘digital strip search’ and demanding any passwords, codes, or encryption keys.

    Customs officers may also copy anything stored on the device, or confiscate it to perform forensic searches. As is the case in the US, examining data stored locally is allowed, but anything found solely on the cloud is off limits—including social media accounts.

    The device must also be returned to the owner undamaged once the searches have been completed, assuming nothing incriminating was found. Any copies of the information must also be deleted.

    Last month, it was reported that a Muslim woman is suing border officials after her iPhone was taken by agents and had its data copied. Rejhane Lazoja was asked to unlock the handset but wouldn’t. “Since there was no stated reason for me to unlock my iPhone, I refused," she said.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,397   +2,934

    This is never going to work. It will quickly result in tons of law suits and human right violations, that it will be abolished. The *****s who brought this up have no clue what they are getting into.
  3. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Maniac Posts: 248   +189

    I guess I can cross off visiting New Zealand from my bucket list.
  4. You want to go to their country, you follow their laws. When I check with the Canadian gov't whether this is o.k. they essentially say the same thing and will NOT intervene. Your mileage may vary....
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,109   +1,583

    I hate this level of intrusiveness. But unfortunately, a necessary evil and we can thank terrorism over the last 40 years that we're at this stage of human interaction.

    I won't like it, but authorities are welcome to browse themselves to sleep reading my uber-boring texts and e-mail messages if they feel the need.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  6. netman

    netman TS Addict Posts: 281   +88

    "The device must also be returned to the owner undamaged once the searches have been completed, assuming nothing incriminating was found."

    What if the phone was damaged? The NZ custom would repair/replace it with a new phone? I don't think so!
  7. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Addict Posts: 147   +118

    And grant them access to my FAKE Facebook account? NO WAY!!!
    TomSEA likes this.
  8. Roush60

    Roush60 TS Rookie Posts: 23   +11

    NEVER, EVER, take your personal phone outside the US. You ALWAYS run the risk listed in this article when you enter any foreign country. Get a prepaid disposable phone instead. For Android based phones, copy your contact list to a secondary flash drive, or, if you already have a copy on the removable flash drive, take it with you instead of your phone.
    p51d007 likes this.
  9. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,927   +1,196

    Take a burner phone, and use cloud encrypted storage, and use a chrome book or something when traveling.
  10. Clark Ambrose

    Clark Ambrose TS Rookie

    Except the US has been doing this for a couple years now to both foreign nationals and US citizens when they enter the US. It's actually an issue I have discussed with my corporate legal team as I have client and government private information on my phone that the US government can seize for any reason.
  11. Jackwoz

    Jackwoz TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +17

    Got something to hide?
  12. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 732   +281

    Global socialist authoritarianism is just around the corner.
  13. jpuroila

    jpuroila TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +30

    How can it POSSIBLY be a "necessary evil" when it's trivial to circumvent for anyone who actually gives a crap? The only thing this accomplishes is inconveniencing innocent people as well as intruding in their privacy.
    GirlDownunder likes this.
  14. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 732   +281

    Turning customs into papparazi.
  15. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 600   +80

    Yes... Probably his private passwords.

    And if my phone is full of naked pictures of my wife, apparently they can takes copies, and apparently they will delete it afterwards ... yeah right.
    GirlDownunder and MaXtor like this.
  16. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    I can see their point but I already fly bear bones as it is. Use duffel bags instead of luggage. I guess I'll have to carry cheap devices if they get taken. NZ I guess I won't be flying there either.
  17. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 600   +80

    The problem myself though is that when I fly I take devices with me for entertainment, maybe to watch videos in the airport, on the plane or even out in the hotel. I have my phone for blogging etc I am not going to purchase separate devices to do the same tasks on holiday. Further to this my devices aren't my own and are owned by the company and may contain private information (even items that relate to the MOD (Ministry of Defense) so ofc I don't want to just hand over passwords to random staff who are on power trips.
    GirlDownunder likes this.
  18. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    I am talking about personal trips not company trips. Sure you have a valid point there. But I don't travel as much since 9/11. After that 9/11 airline travel hasn't been fun too me. They make it safer but at a cost to convenience. If they want to do something good. Scan you as soon as you enter the airport. Boston Airport I know they scan cars But they scan everyone that goes through the doors and the luggage as well prior to even getting to the plane boarding area. TSA just way too much to deal with.
  19. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Booster Posts: 104   +33

    Jacinda Ardern? Making fun of Chump on Colbert but applying Nazi-ism in your home country?
  20. flyboydale54

    flyboydale54 TS Member Posts: 26

    They can not demand squat if you drop your phone on the floor and stomp on it, which I would do if my privacy rights were infringed upon. Send a message, stomp on your phone right in front of them and tell them password no longer needed. :)
    MaXtor and GirlDownunder like this.
  21. GaryMove

    GaryMove TS Enthusiast Posts: 168   +11

    I think it's ridiculous.
    It doesn't provide any private life.
    What a shame!

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...