Australian Customs Porn Imports

Censoring imports of adult material


20th May
2010
  

Australian Embarrassment...

Travellers now have to declare any porn to Australian customs

The Australian Sex Party is demanding an enquiry into why a new question has appeared on Incoming Passenger Cards at the Customs point of entry into Australia. The new question asks if they are carrying any pornography .

Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that this development now gave Government officials an unfettered right to examine someone's laptop or mobile phone as they re-entered the country. A senior Customs official, Richard Janeczko, has been quoted as saying that materials stored on electronic media devices such as laptops, thumb drives and iPhones are on their target list.

Travellers 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. Ms 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 said that by answering YES to the new Question One on the declarations, people would then be asked whether they are declaring a weapon, illicit drugs or pornography. When they answered pornography their materials would then be examined by one and possibly a number of 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.

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 , she said?

Customs' official reasoning behind the changes states that No consultation was undertaken under section 17 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 before this instrument was made as it is of a minor or machinery nature and does not substantially alter existing arrangements.

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.

 

3rd June
2010
  

Update: Classified as Oppressive...

Australian Sex Party produce stickers against the customs porn declaration

Following the recent decision by Australian Customs to ask travellers to declare any pornography they may have on their laptops and mobiles, the Australian Sex Party has produced a series of luggage stickers designed to protest the stupidity of the decision.

Sex Party President Fiona Patten said that the stickers were made to point out not only the stupidity of the new question but the legislative sleight of hand that had underwritten it. The effect of these stickers will be to take the fight against this draconian and invasive question on the incoming passenger forms, to the front line of Customs , she said. I am sending a suite of stickers to the Customs Minister today and asking him to personally examine the use of the word 'pornography' in this issue. This word has no legal definition and Customs should not be using legally undefinable terms.

Ms Patten said that the federal government had made a fundamental error in interpreting and defining the nature of material being evaluated by Customs as well as material caught up in the internet filter. Up until the last couple of years, the term Refused Classification (RC) was used as a benchmark to determine and define material that could not be sold in Australia. Under the Classification Act (1995) the RC rating was created for the regulation of commercial media and entertainment content and had nothing to do with what an individual could access or own. It is still perfectly legal for individuals to possess, view and purchase RC rated material.

However both Customs and Senator Conroy have tried to extend the definition of this rating to include personal possession - which it was never intended to cover.

The Australian Customs Service and Senator Conroy are trying to align their initiatives with the Classification Act but are now saying that if something is unsuitable to be sold, its also unsuitable to be possessed or viewed as well. As a result, Australia has two competing definitions of Refused Classification. This is why you can be jailed for trying to bring material through Customs which is legal to possess, as soon as you walk out of the airport. It's also the reason that under Senator Conroy's filtering proposals sites containing material that is legal to view and possess will be blacklisted and blocked. ISPs can be fined large amounts for hosting material that is legal to possess.

 

27th October
2010
  

Updated: Customs Blue Channel...

Australian customs clarify required pornography declaration

Confused travellers unsure about what sort of porn they're allowed to bring into Australia have prompted a re-working of incoming passenger cards.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said he had asked to change the wording on the declaration cards travellers must fill out when they fly into Australia.

The previous card stated that travellers needed to disclose any 'pornography' they were carrying,' O'Connor said: That has now been amended to read 'illegal pornography .''

But with no further advice on hand about what constitutes 'illegal pornography' , travellers may be forced to run their selection by a Customs officer.

My advice to travellers is that if you're in doubt – find out, O'Connor said: Customs officers operate with discretion and the penalties for failing to declare a prohibited import are steep. Prohibited pornography includes child pornography and material depicting bestiality, explicit sexual violence, degradation, cruelty and non-consensual sex, a statement from the Minister said.

The Australian Sex Party claimed credit for the changes today. The party's spokesman Robbie Swan said he wrote to O'Connor's office about six months ago after receiving complaints from a number of members, including a couple on their honeymoon, who thought they had to declare naked pictures of themselves after reading the incoming passenger card. Others had called the party to complain that the ambiguous wording meant they were forced to declare material that was legal in Australia, he said.

A fine of up to $11,000 applies if travellers are caught making a false or misleading statement to a Customs officer.

Update: Honeymoon Snaps

27th October 2010.Based on article from aolnews.com , thanks to David

The Australian press is reporting that the poor treatment of a couple returning from honeymoon was the spur to a re-wording of Australia's porn declaration requirements at customs:

Afraid of breaking the law, an Australian couple returning home from an overseas honeymoon felt obliged to show customs officials naked photos of themselves.

[The couple were] on the beach, they were nude, they'd taken a photo of themselves on their iPhone having an embrace, said Robbie Swan, spokesman for the Australian Sex Party. It wasn't full on or anything, but when they'd gone through customs they'd asked what 'pornography' meant and the customs officer had said: 'Well, anything explicit.'

They were made to display a nude photo of themselves in a line with all these other people, Swan said. They were so embarrassed.

The Sex Party, a libertarian political organization and lobby group, says it has received complaints from angry citizens over the law, which was introduced late last year. The government has told travelers to show their photographs to customs officers if they are in doubt about the content.

The previous [arrival] card stated that travelers needed to disclose any 'pornography' they were carrying, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement. That has now been amended to read 'illegal pornography.'

The government says illegal pornography in Australia includes child pornography and material depicting bestiality, explicit sexual violence, degradation, cruelty and nonconsensual sex.

 

7th April
2011
  

Offsite: Ticking All the Right Boxes...

Australian Sex Party tick the customs porn declaration box

Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party tells us what happens when you declare pornography on an Australian landing card.

My customs declaration card asked if I was carrying any goods that may be prohibited or subject to restrictions, such as medicines, steroids, firearms, weapons of any kind, illegal pornography or illicit drugs ?

The DVDs I had were vanilla US porn. But because Australia's classification laws around the X rating are so strict just about every film that is classified X18+ in Australia requires a few edits to make it legal. Without those edits it would become part of the Refused Classification classification and illegal porn under Customs regulations.

I showed the first customs official my Incoming Passenger Card with 'yes ticked for question one and tried to show him my films but was quickly sent to another official. He checked my card and again I tried to show him my discs but was told to put them away for now. All of my bags were then X-rayed - why I'm not sure. Again I was asked about my answer to question one and again I tried to show the official my films but was asked to put them away and directed to a counter behind a screen.

Finally an officer wanted to see my porn. Well actually I don't think he did but it was his job. I placed the DVD boxes on the counter and the officer had a quick look at the back cover informing me that this was not what they were looking for. They were only interested in illegal pornography.

...Read the full See  article from  sexparty.org.au



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