Travelers to Australia to Be Searched for Porn

May 20, 2010 4:00 PM PST
DEAKIN WEST, Australia — Australian customs officers have been given new powers to search arriving passengers' laptops, thumb drives and mobile phones for pornography, according to the Australian Sex Party.

Fiona Patten, president of the Australian Sex Party, is demanding an inquiry into why a new question appears on mandatory questionnaires asking travelers if they are carrying pornography.

Patten quoted a senior Australia customs official, Richard Janeczko, who recently said that that materials “stored on electronic media devices such as laptops, thumb drives and iPhones” are on their target list.

The "pornography" question has appeared on questionnaires since September but it had received little to no coverage in the media.

“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,” Patten said. "Travelers must now also declare perfectly legal materials such as Category 1 and 2 Restricted magazines, X18+ films and quite probably a large section of R18+ films which have explicit sex in them."

Patten said that by answering yes to the new Question 1 on the declarations, people would then be asked whether they are declaring a weapon, illicit drugs or pornography.

When they answered "pornography" their belongings would then be examined by customs officers. If people were at all embarrassed by the question, often surrounded by family and friends, they could be taken into a private room and even have their person searched.

Patten said the change marked the beginning of a new era of official investigation into people’s private lives — being investigated or searched on the basis that you might have legal material in your possession.

She also said the changes were part of a continuation of the "demonization of sex" by Christian leaders of both major parties.

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