New Zealand Immigration: Your Phone Password or $3200 Fine
We all love to travel all around the world. We love to see those adventures here and there. Visiting New Zealand is no longer what you think. There is now a new law in New Zealand that requires travelers to hand over their phone to the border officials for scrutiny or face thousands of dollars in fine (5,000 NZD).
Earlier this week, a new law under NZ customs and excise act 2018, gives the border officials full right to ask the travelers to hand over their phones and any other electronic devices for immigration checks before entering the country. Any traveler who refuse to comply to this new law may be fine up to $3200 and also lose their phones to the border officials.
Reactions By Activist Group
A right group activists recently came up to denounce this law as a breach of privacy. New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) strongly condemned the action as a “grave invasion of privacy of the person who owns the device and even the people they have communicated with”.
Thomas Beagle who is the chairman of the council said, powerful information like emails, medical records,personal and very personal photos are all sensitive. CCL argued further that any criminal or people with bad intentions may be smarter than that. He said they can easily wipe off their electronic devices by storing the information on the internet. After gaining entry into New Zealand, can easily download the information back. By doing this, they have beaten the system and also avoided the $3200 fine.
How The Government Defended The Decision.
New Zealand Government defended this decision as a way to protect the citizens.The NZ Customs spokeswoman said in her statement, the law was necessary as technology now makes people to store prohibited information on their electronic devices compare to the old paper based systems.
It is important to know that searching travelers phones are permitted in some countries like the United States. However New Zealand is the first country to move a step further by introducing a fine for those that refuse to provide their login details or pin numbers to the border officials.
In fact, travelers of foreign nationals can be denied entry into the United States if they refuse to cooperate with the border agency and also provide their phone password if requested.
So if you are planning to visit New Zealand anytime soon as a foreign nationals, you need to be aware of this new rule. Be prepared to cooperate with the border officials on any questions you may be asked.