Aussie Rules Changed to Let Customs Search for Porn

Thursday 20th, May 2010 / 04:24 Written by
Aussie Rules Changed to Let Customs Search for Porn

Customs and immigration officers in Australia have been granted new powers to search laptops and mobiles for pornography.

New questions have been added to the Incoming Passenger Cards for business travellers and holidaymakers visiting Australia including a question related to the possession of pornographic material.

The new additions have received very little media coverage in Australia and appear to have slipped under the radar of public consultation according to Colin Jacobs, chairman of the Electronic Frontiers Australia. Speaking to the Brisbane Times, Mr Jacobs said: “It’s hard to fathom what the pressing concern could be that requires Australia to quiz every entrant to the country on their pornography habits”.

Campaigners have argued that the searches are extremely intrusive into the private lives of travellers. President of the Australian Sex Party, Fiona Patten said in a press release: “If you and your partner have filmed or photographed yourselves making love in an exotic destination or even taking a bath, you will have to answer ‘Yes’ to the question or you will be breaking the law.”

Australian sex party

The critics of the new scheme have said that the term “pornography” is too general and vague. The law should apply to illegal pornography especially in relation to child pornography, but “normal porn” should be exempt.

Authorities are keen to reassure travellers that tact and discretion will be used by officers who search through personal computers and mobile phones. “Including an express reference to pornography is intended to enhance the interception of prohibited pornography at the border, by making passengers aware that some forms of pornography may be a prohibited import,” a spokesman commented.