back to article Oz customs search lappies and mobes for smut

A row has broken out in Australia after it emerged that Customs officers are searching laptops and mobile phones for smutty snaps. The change actually came in late last year. Inbound passengers must fill in an incoming passenger card which now includes a pornography question. Fiona Patten, president of the Australian Sex …


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  1. ratfox

    Meet the government

    I am reminded of de Niro in "Meet the parents":

    - Have you ever smoked marijuana?

    - Have you ever watched porn?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    So we're still shipping people to Australia

    Our ex-Home Office ministers...

  3. lglethal Silver badge

    Anyone know...

    ... what our rights are here in relation to refusing to answer a question that is an obvious breach of our privacy?

    As an Australian citizen, to the best of my knowledge i cant be refused entry to Australia (where are the going to deport me too?), and so what happens if i refuse to answer this question? I would be interested if anyone knows the actual legal ramifications.

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      They'll probably impound you laptop / phone

      and strip-search you.

      Customs officials can do that, you know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @Ed Blackshaw

        "and strip-search you."

        And then they'll take pictures of you and circulate these pictures across their network, including their phones, so when people ask, "what kinds of pictures on my phone do you mean?" They'll show these people the photos they took of you in compromising positions, such as you standing there naked with a bunch of onlookers gawking at your naked body.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      They beat you up and toss you in leg irons

      Then after much pissing around, you get placed in the stocks, pelted with rotten vegetables, and after poking you with pointy sticks for the devils mark, then they try you for witch craft.

      Of course Australia's fuck hole "morality minority" can't match witch craft, and the sorcery of brain scanners, and people thinking sexual thoughts.

      Still nothing like a good christian cavity search - I insist on it.

    3. Robert Brockway

      A title

      You;'re correct that as a citzen you cannot be refused entry but they can _delay_ entry under a number of circumstances. Declining to answer the questions may even be an offence, infact I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was.

      Anyway Senator Conroy's filter has already pre-determined how I'm going to vote at the next federal election.

      1. Big-nosed Pengie

        I hope it'll be

        The Australian Sex Party. I know I will.

    4. LaeMing

      Rights? You have no rights!

      I vaguely recall the concept of rights. Something that big faceless multinational companies have aren't they?

  4. Gavin 8


    I wonder, would I get extra immigration points for doing any of the above with one of their natives?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No, but you will in America

      Check the conditions for L2 visa.

      They require snaps from your wedding and do not clarify which ones they really need - the ones from the signing, from the reception or the ones from the night after where you demonstrate that you are fully compliant to the local custom by doing it only in the Missionary position.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "I wonder, would I get extra immigration points for doing any of the above with one of their natives?"

      For some reason I read this as 'relatives'

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Extreme porn?

      Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down...

      (and I don't think I want to know what the penguin's grinning at)

  5. Andy 97

    No wonder all the kids come here....

    All they need now is to adopt islamic law and they'll be right back to the middle-ages.

    And they always have a go at us Brits for being up-tight.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Middle Ages in Australia was the domain of the Aborigines

      who didn't bother so much with the whole clothes thing

    2. waldoPepp

      ...perhaps we need to de-sensitise them

      In the interests of freedom of expression, perhaps somebody should set up a facebook page, along the lines of "Show Porn to an Australian Day".

      1. Gannon (J.) Dick
        Thumb Up

        One stone, two birds ...

        Show Pakistani Porn to an Australian Day

        I love it when a plan comes together.

    3. Jon Waland

      pot, kettle, black

  6. Kay Tie

    None so pious..

    .. as the descendents of criminals.

    1. LaeMing

      As an Aussie, I sadly must agree.

      I thought the deal was we got all the crims and political agitators and all the religious nutters went to the Americas? Is it too late to send our moral minority there now?

  7. Thomas 4

    This sounds like a fun question

    "But officer, it's just me and my spouse together! It's not pornography!"

    "To find out whether your telling the truth, I will need to examine the photos on the camera and then both you will need to strip naked for close examination."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      this isn't my spouse...

  8. Jerry


    Clearly the scenario

    “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.”

    is not an issue with the typical UK resident.

    The Aussies on the other-hand are somewhat nervous.

  9. envmod


    WTF is wrong with Australia?? Who's making all these laws?? I mean, what. the. fuck. Australia used to be alright...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Australia used to be alright...

      Yeah - before the Australians arrived...

      1. fLaMePrOoF


        Don't you mean before the Brits arrived...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Erm...

          Well, I guess the indigenous peoples weren't using Latin and thus didn't refer to the continent as "Australia", so they also wouldn't refer to themselves as "Australians". The people showing up on their ships, on the other hand...

  10. LuMan
    Thumb Up

    Australian Sex Party??

    Can I have an invite??

    1. Big-nosed Pengie
      Thumb Up

      Of course!

      And their motto is "Where YOU come first!"

  11. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Is England "exotic"?

    My bedroom isn't exactly exotic either, although it does have some exotic samples of technology from yesteryear.

    So I can honestly say no, no pictures taken anywhere exotic. Hang on though, maybe my parents took a picture of me in the bath when I was 1 week old, do I have to declare that?

    1. H2Nick

      Paedo alert

      Naked kiddie in bath?

      Call The Paedofinder General !

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can't they just download it from the internet like most other people do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >Can't they just download it from the internet like most other people do?

      Don't they have internet filtering now?

      - "Do you have any pornography on your computer sir?"

      - "No, but I heard that you couldn't get it easily, so I put some on a USB stick for you."

    2. LaeMing
      Paris Hilton

      That's kinda the point.

      We (officially) can't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      Some of the best sites _are_ Aussie...

  13. SuperNintendoChalmers

    Further information

    What is the actual question asked though?

  14. Cameron Colley

    Another country to add to my list.

    It's a shame, since I know some Australians and they're cool people I'd like to visit some time. But, as long as this kind of this is in place, I'll have to add Australia to my rapidly growing list of places I can't visit safely and won't visit for ideological reasons.

  15. scottboy

    Just one question

    What is the question that is being asked?

  16. Stone Fox


    going through my laptop or mobile phone breaks some form of law? Invasion of privacy? Human rights?

    Surely unless they have reason to suspect wrongdoing on my part they can't do this?

  17. Winkypop Silver badge

    It's the right-wing religious taliband

    "Family First" has a lot to answer for.

    1. Mos Eisley Spaceport

      No pink bits!!

      That's the Aussie way now!

      God hates nakedness!!!

      You'll all go blind!

  18. ShaggyDoggy

    Erm ...

    “If you and your partner have filmed or photographed yourselves making love in an exotic destination or even taking a bath, you will be breaking the law.”

    Only if the pic is on this lappy mate, otherwise fuck off.

  19. SlabMan

    In the good old days...

    You might have expected to be asked; have you got any porn on your laptop? If not, what the bloody hell's wrong with you?

  20. Grandcross

    This is nothing new

    I never had a form with a question, but my lap top was searched when I entered Australia in April 2008, primarily because I was entering via Thailand with quite a bit of photo gear.

    My lap top was similarly searched on my entry to Canada about a month later. There I was explicitly asked if I had any child pornography or bestiality photos. Not sure what that says about me, but there you go!

  21. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    Did you say exotic or erotic?

    No BB, I haven't been to what I consider an exotic destination!!!!!

    I knew there was a time difference between here and Oz, I just didn't realise it was a couple of hundred years.

    Hello, Miss Hilton, any nudie pics of yourself on your phone?

    Paris, do I have to explain why?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Obfuscate and misdirect

    Let's face it, these are customs officers we're talking about; not exactly the most IT literate folks on the planet. Put your private files in a bitlocked virtual disk and then rename the virtual disk as cv.doc or something. If they try and open cv.doc and it doesn't open, you can claim it's probably a corrupt file and ask them to delete it for you while they at it. Plenty of other tricks to hide stuff, just takes a little bit of imagination and effort.

  23. john oates (Written by Reg staff)


    The question is something like - are you carrying pornography?

    I failed to find a copy of the new incoming passenger card online - but the old version includes a list of items - you must tick if you are carrying them. These include wooden items. medicines, explosives, firearms, food etc. and now pron too...

    If you answer yes to any of these you're expected to report to customs. Aussie customs are very thorough and check most food items. they also confiscate some strange stuff - like electric fly swatters....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And I was thinking Aussie was tame

      Ok, I can understand certain foodstuffs appearing in intimate photos of you and your other half but electric flyswatters? That's hardcore.

    2. Graham Marsden

      Ah, but electric fly-swatters...

      ... can be used for other purposes in the BDSM community.

      Erm, allegedly... ;-)

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      You're not allowed to bring in Cetaceans eigher

      The tyranny.

      Actually one of the other silly import bans is on laser pointers.

    4. Steve Roper

      Re: question

      I agree with everyone here that this porn question is just one more piece of our right-wing totalitarian nut-job government's insanity. Sadly there's no light on the horizon for us like there is for you in the UK because our Opposition party are, if anything, even more evil than the current government, so come the next election we get to choose between Big Brother or Comrade Napoleon. The Democrat Party (our equivalent of your LibDems) were set up and discredited some years ago by John Howard (former Liberal Party Prime Minister), whose tactics put Machiavelli to shame, so all we have left now are the two police-state big parties and a raft of tiny minority parties. And the biggest ones of these are the Greens, who are a bunch of tree-hugging Greenpeace/PETA dickheads, and Family First, who are a bunch of god-bothering ban-everything religious fuckwads. I weep for this country. No, I am filled with fucking red rage at what this country has become.

      However, I am supportive of Australia's strict quarantine laws, which have been in place for decades, even back when this used to be a free country.. Essentially, you have to declare any organic material - wood, seeds, meat, fur, foodstuffs, live animals etc. The reason is because due to its isolation, Australia doesn't have many of the diseases endemic to Europe and America, such as rabies, mad-cow disease, wheat blight, and so on. Organic materials and animals could potentially carry these diseases in. What generally happens is that Customs puts them into quarantine, where they are checked to make sure they aren't carrying any diseases. If they are cleared - a process which can take up to 6 months - then you get them back. I consider this a small price to pay for not having to worry about eating mad-cow infected beef or being bitten by rabid dogs or rats!

  24. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Going to be tricky...

    "No officer I cannot prove that's me in the photo, the gimp mask and rubber nurse's uniform my wife forced me to wear are back at home."

    Great little skit on Horrible Histories. The Puritans mope about claiming that everything is a sin, especially having fun. Suddenly one of the Cavalier's turns up and says "You really like telling people what to do, don't you? Hmm, one might even suggest that you enjoy it and are Fun is a sin though, isn't it?!" At which point an argument breaks out amongst the Puritans as they argue about this!

  25. Il Midga di Macaroni

    No no Conroy, you misunderstand me!

    Damn damn damn! When Senator Bloody Conroy said that his internet filter was the same as restricting the sale of illegal stuff, I told him "No it's not, it's like searching everyone who comes into the country to see if they're carrying any illegal stuff".

    It seems he took that comment the wrong way.

    Election time is coming. For my next trick, I will make Senator Conroy disappear. Can I have 21 million volunteers from the audience to join me in this polling booth?

    Mine's the one with the Labor party how-to-vote card in the pocket. I need a humour fix.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The thing is...

      ...they're -not- searching for illegal stuff. As far as I can tell, they're searching for *legal* stuff - at least, assuming it's still legal to have pictures of unclothed consenting adults...

      1. Mark O

        @This thing is...

        A lot of pornography which would be considered normal elsewhere is illegal in many Australian states. If you want to buy a XXX rated movie in Sydney you need to drive to Canberra where it's legal. At least it was that way a few years back when I lived there - and by the sounds of things I doubt they've relaxed these laws.

        Here's my two cents: Puritanical polititians get a foot hold in Australia by campaigning against child porn (a subject which always attracts hysterical media coverage over there.) Then when these pollies call for restrictions on more mainstream porn, good old Aussie apathy takes over. People will moan about it down the pub - but that's about it.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Aussie Customs

    I found customs to be pretty reasonable coming back into Australia from the United States recently. I was bringing back a spend 257 Magnum round used in the Penn & Teller magic show from Las Vegas (I verified the authenticity of the handgun and round on stage as part of the act). I had the round (shell casing and slug) in my checked baggage and I declared it on the incoming passenger card, I was routed through for an inspection, they looked at the round, checked with their supervisor and tossed it back into my luggage with a quick "It never happened"*

    In regards to bringing Porn back into the country, I am not impressed with the government at the moment, and I will NOT be voting for the Labour government at the next election. I am getting fed up with the constant push for ever increasing restrictions on what an adult in this country can and cannot do. I am 31 years old, I am a law abiding citizen, I am a taxpayer, and I am sick to death of being told what I can and cannot see and do, especially by a puritanical bunch of prudes.

    Anonymous, just to piss off the man!

    *Disclaimer: This story never happened! Honest!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Australia is off my Xmas list.

    Well, along with "Nothing to declare", the TV series about Australian Customs & Immigration, this has managed to block that particular country from my "May Want To Visit" list for good.

    I have nothing to hide but this really just is one invasion of privacy too far.

    1. wayfarer

      UK TV series...

      We had a similar TV series here a few years ago. Intended, we assume, to show what hardworking genuine people they were. It was dropped after a few weeks when it became clear the series was just confirming what everyone already thought about C&E - that they were just a bunch of failed traffic wardens.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Boycott us

      As an Aussie, I encourage overseas friends to not come here.

      Our f**kwit government won't listen to us, so maybe a tourism boycott is in order.

  28. Richard Wharram

    What a surprise

    A Labour government trying to invade every aspect of peoples' lives. Whoda thunk it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Hard Labour

      We've just managed to get rid of a bunch of twats with the same 'Don't Trust The People' mentality. It'll take several years to undo the harm they've done to the national consciousness.

      What is it about 'modern' Labour parties? I don't agree with Socialism, but I understand that some very courageous and committed people whom I respect have sailed under that banner. The heirs to that legacy are nothing more than a PR company desperate to find a way of getting into power at any cost.

      1. Paul 129

        Good luck to you

        We would do the same if it wasn't for the fact that the Liberals here look like they're going to be a more puritanical bunch. If Abbot (Liberal Leader) would only keep his mouth shut then perhaps we'd get some sanity back here.

        Oh hang on I'm listening to what the media does! That's why OZ is fucked, the TV Magazines that pretend to be news. The other night the 'Protect the Kids brigade', publicly destroyed a teen boy for f***ing, and getting some girls pregnant. Sure he's a bit of a sleaze, but national TV character destruction, for a teenager?

        The Church of the 15 second sound byte is far more evil and pervasive than Scientology can possibly dream. But then again Australia brought the "Media Baron" to you!

        "Australia the Lucky Country" is a media misquotation of

        "Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people's ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise. A nation more concerned with styles of life than with achievement has managed to achieve what may be the most evenly prosperous society in the world. It has done this in a social climate largely inimical to originality and the desire for excellence (except in sport) and in which there is less and less acclamation of hard work. According to the rules Australia has not deserved its good fortune."

        --Donald Horne "Lucky Country (Penguin Books) 1965"

        I discovered this one when Horne was voicing, yet again, his frustration at having to listen to people misinterpreting his phrase 'the lucky country'. It had become an albatross around his neck.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Conservatives don't try to control ?

      Get real......


  29. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    What's pornography

    To quote the great Bill Hicks:

    The Supreme court says Pornography is anything without artisitic merit that causes sexual thoughts. - so that's pretty much all of advertising then.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customs officials everywhere...

    ...are in a jobsworth class of their own. Irrespective of nationality.

    Exceeding their legal authority seems to be written into their job descriptions, pretty much everywhere. And too often results in the kind of individual who should really be stacking supermarket trolleys being allowed to become drunk with power.

    1. RegisterThis
      Thumb Up

      Agreed ... But

      ... spare those stacking supermarket trolleys from being compared to customs officials ... I think they would argue that those who fail at stacking supermarket trolleys become customs officials!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        No argument from me on that account...

      2. FailedTrolleyStacker

        Your IP address has been noted

        and you will no longer be able to cross any border employing failed supermarket trolley stackers...

  31. wawadave
    Thumb Down

    Oh big brother big brother

    Oh big brother big brother

    How do you watch us?

    Let us count the ways....

  32. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    ...(according to some news sources) they don't appear to have actually defined "pornography", so they can't compel you to declare it because they can't even demonstrate what "it" might be.

  33. OrsonX

    Is it illegal?

    What if I answer "yes" my hard drive is rammed to the max with naked ladies. What happens then?

    Customs Official: "Er, well, g'd on ya matey, er welcome to Auz"

  34. Doshu


    Somehow i never thought Australia'd be the first (democratic country) to go this completely batshit on creepy right-wing nuttery.

    Maybe i shouldn't ask, but i wonder how far all this ridiculous worldwide puritanism and back-asswards return to medieval retardation will go.

    Yeah, better not to ask.

    1. Barracoder
      Paris Hilton


      Ummm, I think you'll find that's "Left-wing", Dosha. It's the Australian Labour Party.

      Although, if we're honest, you couldn't fit a Rizla between socialism and National Socialism.

  35. Bucky 2

    "Lappies?" ... Seriously?

    Do you folks actually say, "lappies" to refer to laptops? Or is it one of those journalistic nonsense words like "Beantown" (for Boston) or "Boffin" (for Homosexual)?

    1. TeraTelnet

      I demand the return of the word 'mobe'

      If 'lappy' can get by the censors then so can 'mobe', dash it all!

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I think I've missed a joke

      On what planet is "boffin" used for homosexual?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        didn't you know?


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton


          And I always thought that it just referred to having sex in general

          a-la "I filmed myself boffin' the wife..."

          Although, I guess that might confuse the C&E men

  36. Christoph

    Whose definition?

    Is the question "Are you carrying anything which any reasonable person would consider to be porn?"

    Or is it "Are you carrying anything which a sexually frustrated incompetent jobsworth who hates tourists and is trying to fill his required quota of victims could possibly twist into being porn by some ludicrously tortuous interpretation?"

  37. LaeMing

    I am not sure. Can you check for me?

    I have these four 2TB hard drives full of stuff. Lots and lots of files. All encrypted. Here is the encryption key. Here is the source code for the non-standard encryption algorithm I used. Sorry the decryption code is so horribly horribly inefficient and slow. You'll need someone to convert all those deep system calls to something your Windows OS can work with. Best if they know Cobol as the programming language I used is distantly derived from that. I expect you to check every single file as I am really really really worried about accidentally breaking the law. And you probably should scan for evidence of data stegging while you are at it.

    1. Mark 65


      Why don't you step this way and wait in this small dark room whilst we confirm there's nothing of interest sir.

      Whilst they are certainly arseholes butting heads with them will get you nowhere - it's a long flight straight back home at your expense if you're not a national.

    2. paulf

      As in WHO the fuck??

      Who the fuck voted this post DOWN?? Seriously - this has to be the best response I've read! Superb. And the thoughts of the customs-droid reaction - priceless.

    3. fred #257

      Nice one!

      Or how about this as a variation...

      Before you leave, copy about four passed-by-the-Aussie-censor porn movies onto your lappy. Then when you come back, declare 'em. The failed-parking-wardens will have to watch them all, all the way through, just to make sure you haven't cut any other bits into them. And what's more, they'll have to do it in parallel with the Aussie-censor-passed versions, just to make sure you haven't scored an uncut overseas original. Otherwise they're not doing their job, are they?

      And you're bombproof 'cos the censor passed them.

      Ooooh it's nice being evil....

    4. James Henstridge


      You could try that, but I suspect that they would be happy to oblige. It is likely that the staff at the airport won't be trained to do such a search, so you'd need to let them hold the laptop for testing.

      A few weeks later, you'll be able to collect your laptop from the international airport after they're satisfied that there is nothing of interest on it (assuming they actually bother checking it at all).

      Given that you probably value your laptop a lot more than they do, you will end up more inconvenienced than they do.

  38. AndrewG

    One good thing

    There is no way these loons are going to survive the next election, if it isn't wacko green carbon schemes or Kill-The-Homeowner insulation initiatives, its their continuing attempts to reach civil liberties parity with China and North Korea

  39. Steve Brooks

    entertainment free zone...have a beer, you'll need it!

    As an Australian myself I realise that this box simply doesn't convey the actual situation in Australia at the moment, so I have written to Chairman Rudd with the suggestion for a new box, with the question thus:

    "Tick box if you are intending to be entertained whilst in Australia. Please note Australia is an entertainement free zone, there are no adult games, adult videos are banned, if you have come to Australia looking for entertainment please leave now, there are far better places to go to be entertained...oh, and cheaper to."

    I think that covers everything adequately.

  40. Michael Nielsen

    Well I can definitely always tick no

    Because according to my morals, and view on life, I consider all naked women beautiful (well maybe not all), and works of art in som way, and the act of sex very natural, not to mention necessary function of the body.

    Thus all the so called "Porn" on my computer is all works of art, so.

    I'll tick no to that question - lol..

    The fundamental problem is that whether something is Smut, Porn, or art, is entirely in the eye of the beholder, and the negative emotions raised, says more about the person than about the imagery.

    The only reason that people have adversions to nude people is that in their upbringing they have been taught that being naked is shameful, and they've been taught the act of sex is sick - no wonder we have so many screwed up people in the world.

    As a matter of fact, if you read the bible (I have, though I'm an atheist), Then the human race was thrown out of paradise, because they started to dress and think - If you believe in god, you'd have to believe that being naked, is being closer to god - from your very own bible..

    It's about time that the ruddy governments get away from trying to control everything in peoples lives.

    I still do not accept that anyone can tell an Adult what he/she can and cannot see, or do with their own bodies - they are the ones that will feel the consequences, and the only thing society could or should be allowed to do, is to refuse to help people for self-inflicted illnesses. If someone enjoys going down the main street of town naked, it really isn't a problem, as anyone who doesn't like it, does not have to look at it - there's the opportunity to look the other way.

    As I said, finding a naked body offensive, says a lot more about the viewer, than the material.

  41. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    The new S Africa

    >i never thought Australia'd be the first (democratic country) to go this completely batshit

    With S. Africa now a fun and friendly beacon of love, peace and harmony plus America with a black president. I think they saw a vacancy to be the new pariah nation.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just quick note

    To Doshu above, this is all left wing stuff that is going on. The right goes after people as part of a moral crusade, the left because we can't be trusted with anything.

  43. Alexander Vollmer

    Customs check

    I hope they never search the heels of my shoes for the hidden microSDs which turn my empty WinNetbook into a Linux system with everything I need ... really need ... then I'm out of office.

    Sorry stranger, if next time the customs officer from Oz cut your heels ... its also possible to hide an mSD in the little space above the wheels of a trolley, in the ribbon of a hat, in a wristwatch, ceramic or porcelaine figurine, everything else with a size bigger than a sugar cube.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Surprised

    Australian customs are the worst in the world. Every single bloody time I enter the country I get stuck in customs for a good 2 hours (I have a British and New Zealand passport) They really hate how I will enter on one ( the New Zealand one) and leave on the other.

    They once tried to make out that I was breaking the law, as they cant track where I am (which is total rubbish)

    Ever since then I have had nothing but hassle, I once had a box of chocolates (bought in the duty free) confiscated because it wasn't declared on my form.

    The last time I went through, they insisted on calling my employer to check the reason I had been out of the country was because of work. (New Zealand passport allows me to live and work in Australia)

    Not looking forward to going through again, as I know my laptop will I will be targeted .

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I swear this is true...

    Upon arriving in Australia last year I had a couple of interesting incidents with border security.

    The initial item of interest was a bumbag I had ordered for a freind from Israel (thankfully still it its sealed wrapping with receipt attached). Upon being aske dto open its bag I passed it to the customs guy who started taking swabs from the material. Wheh his Sergeant returned looking unamused I was a shade concerned. To have her turn to me and ask "Have you been in contact with Ketamine recently sir? almost had me followthrough.

    Apparently there was a high enough conentration of the drug in the material to "break the machine". Not sure how true/possible this was, but it out the fear of the gods into me. Result? Nothing, and directed further on through customs.

    Having moved on I was then approached by another agent how demanded to look at my laptop. Unofrutnately this *was* a problem because it was so old the battery was effectively dead and I had no charger that was compatible (having left it at home). This was a major issue, as the guy repeatedly attempted to boot it and browse through "My Computer" before watching the power die. I was held for over half an hour as an increasingly angry couple of agents attmepted to check my harddisk.

    Interesting to see the comparison in treatment...illegal (?), date-rape drug? No worries. they even let em keep the item laced with the stuff, just advised me to give it a good wash. Heh. But not allowing to see if you've been foolish to have pr0n on your lappy? Busted...

    And this was almost 18 months ago.

  46. Juan Inamillion

    @"Lappies?" ... Seriously?

    "...or "Boffin" (for Homosexual)?"

    Que? Did I miss something here? For as long as I can remember (and that is rather a l o n g time...) a 'boffin' was/is a scientist or techie...

    Shome mishtake, surely?

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Only thing new here is the question on the passenger card

    I was stopped in customs last year when re-entering Australia, and among other things they wanted to search my laptop for porn. Apparently they were being extra vigilant due to a few high profile child porn busts in the week before.

    One thing I remember from the experience was that being a techie counts against you. If your computer doesn't look like a standard Windows/Mac install, they will consider that suspicious. If you appear knowledgeable, they will assume that you know how to hide files from their searches.

    The who experience left me feeling that being honest and truthful with customs is not always the best option.

    I suspect the question has been added to the landing card after complaints that they were doing these searches without first asking people to declare such material.

  48. Robin Szemeti

    Standard Aussie joke ..

    Immigration official: "Good morning Sir, before entering Australia, I have to ask you some questions"

    Tourist: "sure ... go ahead"

    Immigration official: "Do you have a criminal record?"

    Tourist: "I'm awfully sorry but I don't ... I didn't reallise it was still compulsory ..."

  49. My New Handle

    Between the ...

    ... Redback and Funnel Web spiders, Box Jellyfish, Brown Snake, Tiger Snake, Stone Fish and this cretinous lot of Customs officials there really isn't that much that appeals to me about Australia. It is one of those countries that, oddly enough, I find myself liking less and less each time I read stuff like this. No wonder so many of them escape to our [relatively] sunnier shores.

    Those poor Aboriginies - what the hell did they do to deserve their invading hordes?

  50. Argus Tuft
    Paris Hilton

    time for new desktop wallpaper..

    GOATSE perhaps?

  51. Jon 85

    Last year?

    I cleared customs at Sydney airport last Sunday and I certainly didn't see any question on the card about pornography.

    This is complete nonsense though. If I hadn't already abandoned the Labor Party due to their mandatory internet filtering policy, I would have done so for this outrage.

  52. Chris Parsons

    Use of English

    Apart from El Reg, does anyone really talk of 'lappies' and 'mobes'? I suppose it makes you seem young and cool.

  53. Michael Jenkins

    No we *don't*!

    "Australians are clearly a delicate, even over-sensitive bunch who need protecting from this sort of filth, whether it's online or on someone's iPhone."

    No we *don't*! Our stupid bloody government needs a size 10 up the bloody backside, and to stay the hell away from our porn and internet ...

    Looks like I'll be voting *Green* at the next election, as the only way of delivering said size 10, even though I don't agree with their economics.

    Not *happy*, Kevin Rudd! :(

  54. Francis Fish

    Old Smith & Jones' joke

    If you lived in a place like this would you give a 4X what you drank either? More and more true, sadly.

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