Travellers to Australia and New Zealand now face a hard choice – give up passwords to their laptops or smartphones or be fined.
Now all personal data of tourists, including passwords to crypto wallets can fall into the hands of customs officials if they decide to inspect their gadgets.
The report came from Willy Woo, an old Bitcoin analyst, and Andreas Antonopoulos, a Blockchain expert, who travelled to New Zealand recently and shared their impressions in Twitter:
It was nice visiting New Zealand twice. Pity I won't be going back... In today's society this kind of orwellian bullshit is unacceptable. https://t.co/9PIZAJHK8T— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) October 1, 2018
NZ customs make you pay fines; Australian officials may put you in jail
The New Zealand customs officers apply fines of $5,000 to those who won’t provide passwords to access their confiscated gadgets. The official title for this is ‘refusing digital search’.
Australia has recently implemented similar policy but they do not simply make you pay $5,000, but may send you to prison for not giving up your passwords (or sharing your personal data with them). You can lose your freedom for a period of ten years.
What this is all about
In an attempt to explain its new policy, the Australian Department of Home Affairs has posted a note that such rigorous measures are obligatory since encryption and other methods of digital protection are often used by terrorists, for money-laundering, sex offence of children and other type of criminals to hide and cover their illegal activities. Modern technologies, as the statement goes, are a big hindrance to law-enforcement agencies to access personal data of suspects.
How can it threaten crypto on your wallet?
Despite the friendly approach that Australia has taken to Blockchain and digital coins, like partnering with IBM on the state authorities level or launching a platform for paying utility bills with crypto, now customs officers may legally demand access to your crypto wallets in gadgets.
However, the crypto community is convinced that customs officials are not entitled to impose taxes on crypto holdings that do not belong to foreign citizens.