New Zealand will fine travelers $3,200 if they don’t hand over their phone passwords

Photo: Reuters

New Zealand has a new law in place under which visitors can be fined up to $3,200 if they refuse to give access to their electronic devices.

The Customs and Excise Act 2018 allows Customs officials to examine electronic devices and copy data from the devices. This law is a 22-year-old legislation that came into effect on October 1.

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) believes it is a grave invasion of privacy and condemned it, reported CNN.

In a statement, CCL Chairperson Thomas Beagle said, “Modern smartphones contain a large amount of highly sensitive private information including emails, letters, medical records, personal photos, and very personal photos”.

The New Zealand Customs spokesperson deemed the law necessary because many people store documents and material on electronic devices now. “Of the 14 million travelers risk assessed and processed in 2017, only 537 devices were examined,” she said.

However, the civil liberties organisation believes this law will only target innocent travelers as criminals will surely pay the fine or travel with wiped phones.

Many countries in the world search travelers’ devices as per the law but  New Zealand is the first country to impose fines over non-compliance.



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