NZ Government allow digital strip search at the border


Mass surveillance comes to Customs…

NZ to fine travellers who refuse to hand over phone passwords at border
OUTRAGED travellers have vowed to avoid New Zealand after it became the first country to fine passengers who refuse to hand over their phone passwords at the border.
New Zealand’s Customs and Excise Act 2018, which comes into effect this week, allows customs officials to demand passwords, PINs and encryption keys to unlock devices for “digital strip searches”.
Travellers who refuse to hand over the passwords will be charged up to $NZ5000 ($A4580) and could face having their device confiscated as well as prosecution.
Previously, customs officials could stop anyone at the border and demand to see their devices but until now, the law didn’t compel travellers to provide their password as well.
“We’re not aware of any other country that has legislated for the potential of a penalty to be applied if people do not divulge their passwords,” New Zealand customs spokesman Terry Brown said.

…the danger here is that the grounds are so broad as to what actually amounts to a valid reason to search your phone that anyone can fall victim to it. All they need is a ‘suspicion you’re committing some sort of relevant offending’. This is all under the evil Search and Surveillance Act which was rammed through under urgency by National as a way to retrospectively pass laws to make illegal Police spying legal, the difference now is that Customs can fine you $5000 for not supplying your password.

It’s a vile and grotesque invasion of privacy that has no real checks or balances, but New Zealander’s have such an incredulous ‘if-you-have-nothing-to-hide-you-have-nothing-to-fear’ mentality to mass surveillance, it’s difficult to feel anything but sad apathy at the manner we hand such incredibly far ranging powers over to the all seeing state.


- Sponsor Promotion -


  1. Why doesn’t the new Government amend this bill to make it much fairer, and/or at least have strong/credible oversight?

    • My guess is that would require a re-write of the Search & Surveillance Act and I just don’t think this Government have the energy, talent or tenacity to fight that when so many State Agencies gain such an enormous amount of power through it

  2. “Saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” E Snowden

Comments are closed.