Friday, March 20, 2015

Lets hold Customs to their word

Two weeks ago, we learned that Customs wanted to poke through all your data whenever you entered the country - and jail you if you refused to cooperate. The public outcry at that clearly had some effect, because when they appeared in front of a select committee this week, they'd changed their tune:

Customs boss Carolyn Tremain has told MPs the department would only request travellers hand over passwords to their electronic devices if it had a reason to be suspicious about what was on them.


Although the proposed power would let Customs request passwords from any traveller or do random checks on electronic devices, Tremain told a parliamentary select committee that was not its intention.

Instead, the department would only use the power if it was acting on "some intelligence or observation of abnormal behaviour", she said.

Excellent. But since officials can and do lie, let's hold Customs to their word on this, and require them to show that suspicion to a judge and get a warrant, just like every other agency who wants to perv through our data.