Visiting Australia? Make Sure You Tell The Customs Officials About The Porn On Your Hard Drive

from the perhaps-I'll-visit-new-zealand-instead... dept

We've discussed, a few times, the issues with border patrol/customs officials in the US searching laptops at the border. The reason it doesn't make much sense is that the purpose of border patrol is to make sure nothing bad gets into a country, but the content on your laptop can easily get into the country via the internet, rather than at the border. And even bigger concern, of course, is that people store everything on their laptops. If you're packing your suitcase for a trip somewhere, you pack only the things you want to take. Everything you bring is effectively "opt-in." However, on your laptop, you already have everything. If anything, you might (though I doubt many people do) delete some stuff to avoid having it searched. In other words, unlike your suitcase, the data on your laptop is more of an "opt-out" situation.

Well, it appears that down in Australia, they've taken border laptop concerns to a new and ridiculous level. Slashdot points us to claims for Australian officials that travelers entering Australia should have to declare all porn on their laptops. After some public outcry, that original claim was downgraded to "all illegal porn," but as some people are still pointing out, it's not at all clear what constitutes "illegal porn" in Australia, and it's a violation of privacy to demand that travelers reveal their laptop porn. Again, I'm at a loss as to how this actually helps with anything. It's not like having people declare it at the border will do anything to stop "illegal" porn. It just seems like an easy way to have something else to hold over people.

Filed Under: australia, border patrol, customs, porn, tourism


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  1. icon
    Shaun Wilson (profile), 21 Oct 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Still no reason why such a statement would be made by Mike..

    And about violence, ever heard of BDSM?

    I'm pretty certain that is illegal porn under Australian law, in fact I think that's explicitly what is meant by the violence provisions. I'd say anything a little kinky is borderline so you should avoid anything of the sort coming into the country unless you want to have a public discussion with customs officials on the merits of different styles of pornography. Or perhaps go the other direction and get some hardcore bondage stuff, preferably where the willing participation of all participants is clearly documented, to test the issue.

    On a related note this is what our proposed internet filter is about - politicians try to fit "child pornography" into every sentence used to discuss it but that's not even the majority of the porn covered by the proposed filter, let alone everything else...

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