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Mobile Phone/Laptop Search at Australian Airports

Anything you have on your phone, tablet device, or a laptop as a passenger, is open to scrutiny or interrogation by Australian Border Force officials.

Airport authorities have the right to confiscate devices and copy their contents.

When you fly, airlines give the Home Affairs Department your details, so authorities can identify passengers who “might be a risk to Australia border security”.

The ABF officers may question travellers and examine goods if they suspect a person may be breaching immigration, customs, biosecurity, health and national security laws.

Under the Customs Act, Border Force officers also exercise the power to examine goods subject to Customs control. This may involve:

  1. opening packages;
  2. using a device such as an x ray or ion scanner on the goods;
  3. testing or analysing the goods;
  4. using a detector dog to examine the goods; or
  5. if the goods are a document, reading the documents directly or with the use of an electronic device.

A ‘document’ includes information stored on mobile phones, SIM cards, laptops, personal electronic recording apparatus and computers.

There is no requirement for the traveller carrying the documents to be present when a document is copied.

For any further information, contact Wickham Lawyers at 07 3831 9025.

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