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# 161796 20-Jan-2015 10:21
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In light of today's story about a international traveler arriving in NZ, admitting she was visiting DotCom and subsequently being detained, thoroughly inconvenienced and allegedly:

"told to surrender passwords to her laptop and phone for curious border agents. Ms Torrent claimed she was warned that refusal to hand over the passwords voluntarily meant she would lose her equipment and it would be breached anyway."

...I was wondering what the law was in NZ on this?

I am assuming that though one is within one's rights to refuse to give up passwords to devices, I presume then it is within the right of customs to refuse you entry to the country?

Should they be able to do so on this basis?

It seems a big stretch in terms of appropriate border control powers being able to demand and gain access to someones entire life - there is likely any number of critical personal details on an electronic device which you would reasonably expect to be able to keep private even when traveling internationally. I would assume that giving up access to the device leaves everything at the mercy of customs and you are not necessarily able to monitor or control what then happens to your unlocked laptop or phone once surrendered?






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  # 1218089 20-Jan-2015 10:32
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I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.

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  # 1218093 20-Jan-2015 10:35
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such a slippery slope.....



 
 
 
 


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  # 1218102 20-Jan-2015 10:43
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trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


Don't they need to have 'reasonable cause' before searching?




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  # 1218104 20-Jan-2015 10:45
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DarthKermit:
trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


Don't they need to have 'reasonable cause' before searching?


I'd expect so.



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  # 1218105 20-Jan-2015 10:45
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trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


In theory it sounds about acceptable - though the whole "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" is an exceptionally slippery slope IMHO.

The data on my laptop includes a hell of a lot of personal information which is of no interest or business of anyone except whom I chose to share it with and I cannot say I would trust border control (or any other representative of authority) with that information.

My browsing history, my personal communications, my banking details, passwords etc should not be of relevance, but once I give up my passwords I have no control over what customs then can or can't see. I use a password manager - am I expected to give up my master password for that?

The ubiquitous connectivity of our culture and the centralization and digitization of our personal information surely has to be considered. Giving up a laptop password at the border would be the pre-digital equivalent of bringing all my personal documents, letters, diary, financial transactions, books, pornography etc with me in my case and allowing customs free reign.

Am I to be expected to give up my Visa card PIN?

What governs and protects us from the inappropriate usage, storage or sharing of the information gleaned from my laptop. iPad or mobile?




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  # 1218106 20-Jan-2015 10:47
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DarthKermit:

Don't they need to have 'reasonable cause' before searching?


I imagine "reasonable cause" is whatever they want it to be.




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  # 1218107 20-Jan-2015 10:48
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what if you carry chromebook? do you have to login to your account?





 
 
 
 


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  # 1218108 20-Jan-2015 10:49
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trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


Well, the problem here is that the girl in question appeared to have been targetted simply because she told them she was going to visit Kim Dotcom. That's a bit of a weak reason if you ask me; it's not like he's a murderer or something.




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  # 1218111 20-Jan-2015 10:52
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nakedmolerat: what if you carry chromebook? do you have to login to your account?


Exactly - In theory, by allowing access to your device you are offering up access to far more than would be reasonably expected to be necessary for "border protection"

Are you entitled to be present for the search? Do you have the ability to control what is looked at? Whether copies are taken? Who they can share it with?




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  # 1218112 20-Jan-2015 10:52
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trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


What if you have nudie videos of your wife on your laptop, or some other completely legal personal material that you do not want customs officials posting on youtube!

I guess the warning should be that do not store any sensitive information on your laptop when transiting customs. 

If you must take sensitive info with you, then store it on a cheap SD card and at worst you'll lose that.

[edit]removed one word because so many people out there seek offence. 

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  # 1218113 20-Jan-2015 10:53
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trig42: They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices?


The strip search, cavity search and bag search are all looking for something physical, be it weapons, drugs or anything living (plants/animals etc.). That makes total sense for them to do so.

Searching for information though, on someone's personal computer or smartphone? That's just ridiculous when the information is so easily sent internationally (and securely) via the internet.



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  # 1218114 20-Jan-2015 10:54
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khull: For US handling to the matter:

http://lifehacker.com/reboot-your-iphone-before-being-detained-by-police-to-d-1653394400


 

Interesting!

 


Must remember to reboot my iPad and iPhone before passing through LAX this week!

:)




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  # 1218115 20-Jan-2015 10:55
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SaltyNZ:
trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


Well, the problem here is that the girl in question appeared to have been targetted simply because she told them she was going to visit Kim Dotcom. That's a bit of a weak reason if you ask me; it's not like he's a murderer or something.


That's true, and I agree, not a great reason for customs to stop her. I'm not sure what they are expecting to find on her laptop either.

All I'm saying is that if customs have reasonable cause to suspect that an incoming passenger has something objectionable/illegal/dangerous with them, they have the right to look for it and stop it at the border. This should cover data.

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  # 1218116 20-Jan-2015 11:00
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trig42:
SaltyNZ:
trig42: I don't have a problem with it. If that person is suspected of bringing something into the country that is a threat to the country, or is objectionable, Customs should have the right to search it.
They can do a strip search, a cavity search, a full bag search and x-ray. Why shouldn't they be able to search the contents of your electronic devices? They can't so that easily without passwords, so either the person turns around and leaves at the border, they give up their gear or they hand over their passwords. I know which I'd do if I had nothing to hide. Pretty easy to change a password afterwards.


Well, the problem here is that the girl in question appeared to have been targetted simply because she told them she was going to visit Kim Dotcom. That's a bit of a weak reason if you ask me; it's not like he's a murderer or something.


That's true, and I agree, not a great reason for customs to stop her. I'm not sure what they are expecting to find on her laptop either.

All I'm saying is that if customs have reasonable cause to suspect that an incoming passenger has something objectionable/illegal/dangerous with them, they have the right to look for it and stop it at the border. This should cover data.


If it covers data then people should be forced to give up their facebook/cloud storage accounts too. 

After all, if cops suspect they might access this data in NZ for illegal purposes ....



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