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Travelers to New Zealand who refuse a digital search will face a $5,000 fine

By Kenny Yeo - on 2 Oct 2018, 9:27am

Travelers to New Zealand who refuse a digital search will face a $5,000 fine

New Zealand's Customs and Excise Act 2018 came into effect yesterday and part of this act allows New Zealand customs to demand travelers to provide access to their electronic device or be subjected to a hefty fine.

Before this act, New Zealand customs could stop travelers at the border and demand to see their electronic device (phones, notebooks, etc.). However, they couldn't make the traveler provide their password.

Now, the new law states that travelers must provide access to their electronic device, be it a password, pin-code, fingerprint, or face.

The law also states that customs officials would need to have "reasonable suspicion" of wrongdoing before they can conduct the search. However, customs officials need not tell travelers what the cause of the suspicion is.

The penalty for refusing to comply is a fine of up to $5,000 (NZD presumably) and their device would be confiscated and subjected to a forensic search.

New Zealand customs clarified that officers will only examine devices in flight mode and that they would only search files on your phone and not your cloud accounts.

New Zealand border officials searched roughly 540 devices at New Zealand's airports last year and said that they did not expect the number to increase this year despite the new law coming into effect.

Source: Radio New Zealand

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