NZ cell phone law

This item appears on page 4 of the December 2018 issue.

Any traveler entering New Zealand, if asked by a Customs officer to hand over his cell phone and pass code, must do so, according to a law (the Customs and Excise Act 2018) that went into effect on Oct. 1. Anyone refusing to do so will have his phone confiscated, be fined NZD5,000 (near $3,330) and face arrest and/or deportation.

Customs officials say officers must have "reasonable cause" to suspect a device or its owner before asking to view the contents of a phone, so not all travelers will be affected. Also, it will be a file-by-file search while the phone is in "airplane mode," so unsaved emails and items in the Cloud will not be seen. However, data may be copied and reviewed by Customs officials.