Australian airport security guards made travelers hand over phones & passwords — Analysis
The practice has been condemned by human rights activists as a violation to privacy.
Australia became embroiled again in controversy when returning passengers claimed that they were required to turn over their smartphones and passwords at the border to officials.
On Tuesday, a man revealed to The Guardian that his partner and he were forced to record their passwords to mobile phones for Australian border officers upon their return from Fiji after a 10 day vacation.
After giving the passwords to officials, they were taken in a separate room where their phones could be searched for half an hour.
“We weren’t informed why they wanted to look at the phones. We were told nothing,”It was called a “manhood” by the man. “gross violation of privacy.”
“Who knows what they’re taking out of it? Your phone with your passcode and all your information is at their fingertips. They can access your whole email history, save passwords, bank, myGov accounts, Medicare, myGov account, as well as your banking details. There’s just so much scope,”He added.
Unfortunately, the practice is nothing new and Australian border officials have the power to request devices and passwords from incoming travelers, whether they’re Australian or not.
The Guardian received confirmation from an Australian Border Force spokesperson that they intended the practice to “protect the Australian community from harm”They boasted about it “information seized from passengers phones has contributed to the success of many domestic law enforcement operations targeting illegal activities.”
The practice was condemned by journalists and rights activists. callingIt “gross and abusive”Comparing Australia’s current Morrison government with an authoritarian dictatorship
“Really concerning – this is what authoritarian countries do. Should not be happening in #Australia,” Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill wroteTomorrow is Tuesday.
Journalists in particular – who have a duty to protect sources and other confidential information – expressed concern over the practice, with Australian reporter Jim Malo tweetingIt is. “feels kinda f**ked up that I’d feel the need to wipe my phone coming back into my own country.”
Scott Ludlam (an ex-Australian Senator) responded to the bill by calling for human rights legislation in the country.
This is extremely disturbing. Border Force should not have the power to force people to hand over their phone & passcode at the border without a warrant. We need a national charter that protects people’s human rights in law, including people’s right to privacy https://t.co/ZMYgYCkong
— Liberty Victoria (@LibertyVic) January 18, 2022
Australia is at the centre of several international scandals, such as its recent decision to detain Novak Djokovic (a celebrity tennis player) and exile him.
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