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Any Porn? You Have Something to Declare

People traveling into Australia are being asked whether they have any pornography with them – and the Australian Sex Party (ASP) is demanding an inquiry into this major invasion of privacy.

From now on, when entering Australia, travelers will have to tick a box indicating whether they are bringing any weapons, illicit drugs, or pornography into the country. If someone answers ‘yes’ to having pornography, his or her belongings can be searched. If this does not sound appealing, anyone can tick the ‘no’ box but, if they are carrying any type of pornography, they will be breaking the law.

According to ASP president Fiona Patten, the new legislation gives customs officials the right to rummage through electronic images on people’s phones and laptops, and to examine any adult movies and magazines travelers might be carrying.

Ms. Patten said:

lq.php?p=3RI&q=BEE 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 it fair that Customs officers rummage through someone’s luggage and pull out a legal men’s magazine or a lesbian journal in front of their children or their mother-in-law? rq.png

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Colin Jacobs, chairman of the lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the change appeared to have sneaked under the radar "without any public consultation about the massive privacy issues".

"It's hard to fathom what the pressing concern could be that requires Australia to quiz every entrant to the country on their pornography habits, as if visitors would be aware of the nuances of the Australian classification scheme," he said.

"If this results in Customs trawling through more private information on laptops searching for contraband, I would say the solution is way worse than the problem."
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“How can the Minister call this monstrous invasion of people’s privacy and the criminalisation of hundreds of thousands of people who will answer NO to this question out of embarrassment, a ‘minor’ or ‘machinery’ change”, she said? “If the question was designed to stop child pornography being smuggled into the country then the question should have asked about ‘child pornography’ and not about a product that one in four Australians use on a regular basis.” (La Trobe University, Sex In Australia, 2006).

Ms Patten said the changes were part of a continuation of the demonisation of sex by the Christian leaders of both major parties. “The term ‘pornography’ is not referred to at all in the federal Classification Act which Customs rely on to classify their material .
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