Another privacy question: where to draw the line at Customs?

New Zealand Customs has released a raft of proposed changes to customs laws, which haven’t been significantly updated in more than 20 years.

It wants new powers giving them the right to demand passwords or encryption keys at the border.

“We’re looking at targeted devices, we might be looking for child objectionable material, we might be looking for weapons,” Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said.

However Thomas Beagle of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties doubted the country would be safer.

“If you really were a terrorist or a drug dealer going across the border, would you carry anything incriminating on you?” he said. “Of course you wouldn’t, you’d leave it up on dropbox or some cloud based server and come through customs with a clean laptop and phone.”

The public is being asked to give feedback on the proposed changes, which also includes giving Customs the power to order passengers to empty their pockets and increase the use of biometric information.

Giving Customs the power to access any computer coming across the border is just ridiculous. ?However, if they have their suspicions, they should be able to quarantine a device while a search warrant is being organised.

We really can’t be going around digging into people’s digital lives without a probable cause that a judge can sign his or her name to.

Share your ideas of how Customs can be empowered to do a good job without throwing the baby out with the bathwater below.


– One News