by Craig McCulloch, Radio New Zealand:
Travellers who refuse to hand over their phone or laptop passwords to Customs officials can now be slapped with a $5000 fine.
The Customs and Excise Act 2018 – which comes into effect today – sets guidelines around how Customs can carry out “digital strip-searches”.
Previously, Customs could stop anyone at the border and demand to see their electronic devices. However, the law did not specify that people had to also provide a password.
The updated law makes clear that travellers must provide access – whether that be a password, pin-code or fingerprint – but officials would need to have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.