WDYT? Is the Digital Strip Search Going Too Far?

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WDYT? Is the Digital Strip Search Going Too Far?

In New Zealand there is a zest for security. In the past, customs required travelers to provide any electronic devices for search purposes. What they neglected to incorporate into the law was that travelers were required to provide a password, digital fingerprint, or personal identification number (PIN). Well, now it is part of the law. If people refuse to comply, they could be fined up to $5,000 and their device could be seized and forensically searched. Hmmm.

The Council for Civil Liberties stated that the law was an “unjustified invasion of privacy.” Now, they can’t pick and choose at random who the poor traveler is that they pick on. They must have “reasonable suspicion.” I’m not sure what that means. They are also not required to tell you the cause of the suspicion. I would presume that if you challenged them, you would be slapped with the $5,000 fine. Kind of steep, don’t you think?

If you are like most folks, your electronic device probably contains all personal information near and dear to your heart. According to Tom Beagle, spokesman for the Council for Civil Liberties, “Nowadays we’ve got everything on our phones; we’ve got all our personal life, all our doctors’ records, our emails, absolutely everything on it, and customs can take that and keep it.”

Now the other side of the coin. The purpose is to catch criminals, organized crime as they call it. Minister of Customs of New Zealand, Kris Faafoi stated, “And if we do think they’re up to that kind of business, then getting intelligence from smartphones and computers can be useful for a prosecution.” And again, Mr. Beagle, beating a dead horse, chimed in by saying that “serious criminals” would simply store incriminating material online and that, “You’d be mad to carry stuff over on your phone.” I agree.

To sum it all up, Mr Faafoi said the power to search electronic devices was necessary. And that’s the name of that tune.