NZ to fine travellers who refuse to hand over phone passwords at border, by Lauren McMah.
OUTRAGED travellers have vowed to avoid New Zealand after it became the first country to fine passengers who refuse to hand over their phone passwords at the border.
New Zealand’s Customs and Excise Act 2018, which comes into effect this week, allows customs officials to demand passwords, PINs and encryption keys to unlock devices for “digital strip searches”.
Travellers who refuse to hand over the passwords will be charged up to $NZ5000 ($A4580) and could face having their device confiscated as well as prosecution.
Previously, customs officials could stop anyone at the border and demand to see their devices but until now, the law didn’t compel travellers to provide their password as well.
“We’re not aware of any other country that has legislated for the potential of a penalty to be applied if people do not divulge their passwords,” New Zealand customs spokesman Terry Brown said.