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strawberrypi
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So I travelled back to Australia, from spending about 3 weeks in Pattaya. Arrived back to Australia today.

 

After immigration control, a customs officer approached me and asked some questions:

 

- What did you do do in Thailand (I was there for the night-life mostly)

- Did you go there alone (yes)

- Did you meet up with friends there (no)

 

After these questions the customs officer marked my immigration card with some symbol. I assumed it the symbol meant "check for drugs", like all of the previous times I have entered Australia (I am starting to recognise the people with the cute narco labradors.) Maybe it has something to do with being a single guy travelling from Doha (I like the price/performance ratio of Qatar Airlines Business class, and it is a good route from Scandinavia.)

 

But instead of the usual dog drug sniffing routine (quick, cute), I was routed to some big area containing 99% asian people in line for the quarantine check and 1% losers in my line (me and some really scared-looking asian girl).

 

Two customs officers (both female) started examining my luggage (and phone and wallet). One of them asked me to log in to my laptop so she could examine it; I did.

 

What followed was a 30 minute examination of my laptop by said customs officer. Judging from facial expressions, the customs officer found my 20 GB porn collection about 10 minutes in, and then spent twenty minutes perusing it. This particular porn stash contains mostly kinky but legal photography and videos (both commercial stuff and self-made) - which worried me quite a bit. After all, Australia is the country that made abbywinters.com (of all things!) move to the Netherlands.

 

Meanwhile I was being asked lots of questions:

 

- How much cash did you spend per day? (uh, it varied)

- Was this the first time you used this hotel? (no)

- Did you go to any tourist attractions I might recognise? (probably not - she didn't recognise soi cowboy)

- Do you like going to asian countries (yes)

- Where did you get the money to pay for your expenses (from my credit card)

- Are you married? (no, I am single)

- So you spent like three weeks mostly drinking? (yeah….)

 

I do have to say that the custom officers behaved professionally during all of this. However, it still felt really embarrassing. And in retrospect, I feel violated. Not by the officers, but by the system that made them do this.

 

Finally, I was let go. I was told that they were basically only looking for child porn and drugs (although they didn't do a very thorough look for drugs for me; the primary focus was obviously the computer and strangely also a passive USB hub; they thought it could contain porn.) They also told me I shouldn't feel embarrassed for what they found on my laptop - "we have seen it all".

 

Lesson for next time: always encrypt anything embarrassing or sensitive.

Edited by strawberrypi
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What ever you do DONT ENCRYPT or try to hide files in unmounted partions etc. That is GUARANTEED to get you thoroughly checked - and the suspicion is if they only find "average porn" then the encrypetd sector has been cleened of Kidy porn - other wise why encrypt.

It is better to light even one candle than to live in fear of the dark.

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Fair enough. New Lesson: always move your pron to a non-anglosaxian host before entering an anglosaxian country.

Edited by strawberrypi
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Cloud is the future, get on it. No need to feel violated, they have failed in the past on so many front. They are justifying there current Nazi tactic without basis in my opinion. FYI boarder protection is a key Beal Report that DIAC is working through now because of past failures. Expect 1 billion in the upcoming budget to fund a new computer system.

Daryle

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That's some scary shit. Fuck that.

 

If you want basically free cloud storage then I would upload to Amazon AWS.

 

Did they copy anything off your laptop or did they just look through it while you were there with you? If they take it off to another room and look through it then that's fucked up - they could put any kind of government spyware on there while you're not looking.

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The laptop contents was perused in front of me, but with the screen facing away from me. Nothing was attached to the laptop. Theoretically something could have been transferred via wifi or bluetooth, but I doubt it.

 

Government spyware seems unlikely. Surely, even in Australia that would be grounds for at least a minor sized scandal?

Edited by strawberrypi
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The very first question on your arrival declaration card contains the question "are you bringing in any pornography"? or words to that effect.

 

Iv'e had my camera and portable hard drive checked (contained lots of porn) and dont have a problem with it. You won't be in any trouble unless you deserve to be with illegal porn.

 

If they can catch some sickos through this method all the better.

Edited by Gnet
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Yeah the Australian Customes Officers are certainly doing their jobs !

 

And they love it.

December 17 2011 ....... The day Pattaya will be invaded by THE_GUN

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Hard to say if the expiriance was Bad or not. I have always found the Oz Customs Buggers for picking on certain types of folks and always had a bit of a tough time being picked on IMO because I am covered in Tattoos

 

These are not on display but having some on my Hands always seems to me a trigger point where they single me out

 

It is easy to moan but I guess they are doing their job and I have also had the full check in other places

 

If you have nothing to hide best just to suck it up and let the power crazy monsters do their thing even if at times it seems an invasion of ones privacy

 

Cheers

 

Ghosty

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My issue isn't with the people working in customs. In this case, my issue is with the policy of doing searches of the laptops (and phones) of people. There are very often deeply private things there.

 

More here:

 

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/01/can-australian-customs-search-the-contents-of-your-laptop/

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/travellers-to-be-searched-for-porn-20100520-vh09.html

 

(I do happen to think that behaviour based profiling like what they are doing is an efficient way to get results in these circumstances, but that is besides the point.)

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The laptop contents was perused in front of me, but with the screen facing away from me. Nothing was attached to the laptop. Theoretically something could have been transferred via wifi or bluetooth, but I doubt it.

 

Government spyware seems unlikely. Surely, even in Australia that would be grounds for at least a minor sized scandal?

 

It's not uncommon at all, there are quite a few first world governments that license spyware from 3rd party providers or develop it themselves for domestic security purposes. I know that Australia falls sharply into line behind the US when it comes to the antiterrorism stuff... It's just something to think about it. If they take the device out of your sight, then you can no longer trust the device. If you are (extremely/realistically) paranoid, then even reformatting isn't a sure fix, because they could flash your BIOS with malware.

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A few comments on what happened to you.

Firstly they mark every immigration card with a code. They do not disclose what that code means but it could mean that you are marked for a random search or you are a high or low risk.

The dogs are not sniffing for drugs but for any food such as meat or fruit. The drug sniffing dogs are separate and sniff the baggage before it arrives at the carosel.

I would not draw anything from the fact that you were directed to the quarantine check, many people are including myself.

I am surprised they spent so much time looking at your computer. But as a poster has said they are only looking for illegal pornography and not the type you had on you.

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That's some scary shit. Fuck that.

 

If you want basically free cloud storage then I would upload to Amazon AWS.

 

If you had two weeks in Pattaya you'd need it to upload 1/2 of that 20GB.

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I read a survey of travellers from around the world.

The question was who are the strictest customs you have dealt with...

 

The 2 countries were Australia & Japan.

 

PA

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On a trip to Perth about 2 years ago they took my laptop as well and brought it back to me about 15 minutes later. I have no idea what they did with it as it went to another room, but I had to change all my passwords and log-ins because I have no idea if they copied anything or just looked.

 

I don't have porn on my HDD, other than a few pics of naked GFs but certainly nothing hardcore or illegal. And I would suggest to all you guys not to carry your laptops with porn on the HDDs. If I wanted to carry porn at all I'd maybe copy it all to an SD card and have that in my wallet or pocket.

 

Aussie customs are nasty cunts, they have enormous powers, all they have to do is say 'drugs & pedos' and that gives them the rights to fuck people around.

 

They seem far worse since ALP got in. I remember back in the Howard days the immigration & customs were fairly friendly, I'd get smiles and they'd even ask me friendly questions like recommending good places for them to have holidays. But all that vanished after ALP got in, I noticed tougher meaner nastier attitudes from them every time I return to Perth.

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I read a survey of travellers from around the world.

The question was who are the strictest customs you have dealt with...

 

The 2 countries were Australia & Japan.

 

PA

 

I went to Japan before, the guy was pretty nice and put up a privacy thing so other passengers can't see while he looks in my bag. Canada has to be up there for the worst, as soon as you get to the immigration desk they have sour faces and ask you the most retarded and personal questions. I get stopped and checked every time now, I guess I got flagged for being rude back to them one time.

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My first 2 trips to Thailand they went over me with a fine tooth comb, then on my third when they asked my reasons for visiting Thailand I told them I have a gf over there. Their whole attitude changed in a heartbeat, I was no longer a "horrible" sex tourist and let through with minimum fuss.

Work the curse of the drinking classes. - Oscar Wilde

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I got a searched on my way back in here last time. I only travel with a carry on bag cause it means I get through quicker (well at least that was the plan). The first guy asked me why I only travel with a carry on bag and I replied that I had already bought I the crap I wanted on previous trips.

 

Then I was pulled over for the bag search and the lady found some valiums. I had taken the valiums from Australia and back and they were prescribed. She stated that I had not filled out the form correctly and I could be fined xxx amount of dollars. I said I didn't buy them in Thailand, they were from home and prescribed.

 

Then she started saying 'You know these are used as date rape drugs.' I think she was trying to get a reaction out of me. I told her that I used them to sleep on the plane, which was the truth.

She said 'Well lucky you only have 5 valiums here, I'll let you keep them'. I couldn't of cared less if she threw them out, I just wanted to get home.

 

Lucky she didn't find the viagras I had, they were from Thailand and unprescribed. I didn't even think of the valiums and viagra until then, so be careful about that stuff in the future.

Edited by Mognam
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I think you need to factor in a couple of things before you get too upset with the Customs guys.

 

It's probably not exactly an easy job dealing with thousands of tired travellers every shift, many of whom won't speak a great deal of English. Much as with many other 'protection services' such as the Police, after time you get hardened from dealing with problems day after day and having to view everyone you look at as a potential risk. Add to that, it's not generally human nature to be in a position where you're basically paid to be interrogative and suspicious towards your 'customers', and I imagine you grow a thick skin pretty quickly.

 

Consider also that it's an important and high profile role to have to take. These guys are responsible for vetting people all day every day to keep illegal immigrants and crims out of the country. That's a fair amount of pressure.

 

Some customs officers are charming, some are blank faced and unfriendly. Regardless of which, if you trip a trigger that suggests you warrant a closer looking at, it may not be nice personally but it's certainly necessary for the general good of all.

 

At home my laptop rarely has any 'racy' material on it, and I don't usually take any nudes in Pattaya. Despite which, my laptop's drive gets thoroughly cleaned before I travel, and on the odd occasion when I take a saucy snap I store it online before flying home. I wouldn't normally trigger a Custom's inspection as I fit the profile of 'middle aged holiday traveller' more than anything else, but you never know.......

 

Customs, Immigration and all the other issues we have to deal with when we travel abroad are just minor irritations that we have to accept for the privilege of being able to get on a plane and fly. Bear these things with good grace and you'll be treated with due respect.

 

Cheers

 

Perthie

Perthie's PA Bash and Bikini/Glow Party 19th May 2017.  Bikini clad girls in body paint, great food including pig roast, free shots, games and prizes for the lads and lasses.

 6pm onwards at Sexy In The City (Soi 6) under the hosting expertise of the magnificent Xylanic.

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I think you need to factor in a couple of things before you get too upset with the Customs guys.

 

It's probably not exactly an easy job dealing with thousands of tired travellers every shift, many of whom won't speak a great deal of English. Much as with many other 'protection services' such as the Police, after time you get hardened from dealing with problems day after day and having to view everyone you look at as a potential risk. Add to that, it's not generally human nature to be in a position where you're basically paid to be interrogative and suspicious towards your 'customers', and I imagine you grow a thick skin pretty quickly.

 

Consider also that it's an important and high profile role to have to take. These guys are responsible for vetting people all day every day to keep illegal immigrants and crims out of the country. That's a fair amount of pressure.

 

Some customs officers are charming, some are blank faced and unfriendly. Regardless of which, if you trip a trigger that suggests you warrant a closer looking at, it may not be nice personally but it's certainly necessary for the general good of all.

 

At home my laptop rarely has any 'racy' material on it, and I don't usually take any nudes in Pattaya. Despite which, my laptop's drive gets thoroughly cleaned before I travel, and on the odd occasion when I take a saucy snap I store it online before flying home. I wouldn't normally trigger a Custom's inspection as I fit the profile of 'middle aged holiday traveller' more than anything else, but you never know.......

 

Customs, Immigration and all the other issues we have to deal with when we travel abroad are just minor irritations that we have to accept for the privilege of being able to get on a plane and fly. Bear these things with good grace and you'll be treated with due respect.

 

Cheers

 

Perthie

 

"These guys are responsible for vetting people all day every day to keep illegal immigrants and crims out of the country." Are they? I thought that was the responsibility of the various embassies world wide, to run checks before issueing visas.

 

"if you trip a trigger that suggests you warrant a closer looking at" They're a bit too fast with these closer looking ats. A couple of months ago I invited my Thai ex GF, who is an Aussie citizen, to come join me me in Patts for her 2-week vacation from her job. I booked her airfare for her and paid for it with my credit card. She had a great holiday with me in Patts and after 2 weeks flew back to Perth to return to work. So those fucking nazis at Perth airport have everything on their computer and they pull my GF aside into an interview room and hold her for 2 hours shouting at her, accusing her of being a drug mule, saying who's this man who paid for your ticket? GF is shitting herself with fear and so they pick up on that and shouting at her why you scared? If you got nothing to hide you shouldn't be scared. We know you have drugs so tell us where they hidden. So after 2 hours of interrogation and searches they find nothing and tell her to fuck off.

 

Sorry I have no sympathy for them. They're over-powered officious nasty bastards.

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I always tick the declare box, and always have some innocuous tablet of some kind like ibuprofen 400mg.

I also like the cabin luggage only option, so don't have much stuff.

 

I ensure that I eliminate any unnecessary paperwork before I get on the plane.

Anything I want I have already photographed and uploaded, or posted to myself

If I have any digital data I upload it before I get on the plane.

I have a phone so I erase it on the plane before I get back.

If I have a laptop I erase it on the plane before I get back, although I prefer just phone these days.

If I have a camera I erase it on the plane before I get back.

If I have any digital media I erase it on the plane before I get back.

And I don't just means delete the files, I mean overwrite, then factory reset. Phone is a little difficult, but a rooted android phone allows me to be fairly confident I can clean it. iPhone would be a nightmare, tho might be easier jailbroken.

 

IIRC after reading the customs act, if you are a resident returning, you only have to assist them with the stuff you bring back, not do 20 questions about what you did on your holiday. Of course they might not like you running that line, and give you a hard time. I haven't had to push it, I just try to be pleasant, vague, and uninteresting.

 

After I get home I download the phone backup and restore it to the state a day before I got on the plane.

I download any other data I uploaded.

 

If I had a laptop I'd either rebuild it from scratch or restore it from a backup from before I left.

 

In general it is not worth the hassle of encrypting things and bringing them thru customs. If I have bulk data, I'd try something like encrypting it on a hard drive and posting it to myself, but only if I couldn't upload it before hand.

Edited by s77656769
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I always tick the declare box, and always have some innocuous tablet of some kind like ibuprofen 400mg.

I also like the cabin luggage only option, so don't have much stuff.

 

I ensure that I eliminate any unnecessary paperwork before I get on the plane.

Anything I want I have already photographed and uploaded, or posted to myself

If I have any digital data I upload it before I get on the plane.

I have a phone so I erase it on the plane before I get back.

If I have a laptop I erase it on the plane before I get back, although I prefer just phone these days.

If I have a camera I erase it on the plane before I get back.

If I have any digital media I erase it on the plane before I get back.

And I don't just means delete the files, I mean overwrite, then factory reset. Phone is a little difficult, but a rooted android phone allows me to be fairly confident I can clean it. iPhone would be a nightmare, tho might be easier jailbroken.

 

IIRC after reading the customs act, if you are a resident returning, you only have to assist them with the stuff you bring back, not do 20 questions about what you did on your holiday. Of course they might not like you running that line, and give you a hard time. I haven't had to push it, I just try to be pleasant, vague, and uninteresting.

 

After I get home I download the phone backup and restore it to the state a day before I got on the plane.

I download any other data I uploaded.

 

If I had a laptop I'd either rebuild it from scratch or restore it from a backup from before I left.

 

In general it is not worth the hassle of encrypting things and bringing them thru customs. If I have bulk data, I'd try something like encrypting it on a hard drive and posting it to myself, but only if I couldn't upload it before hand.

 

But there's something very wrong with the system that you have to go to all this trouble, resetting and deleting personal info, so those bastards won't be going through everything. I think it's an invasion of privicy and they should only have the authority to search personal items like laptops, mobiles & cameras if the person is suspected of criminal activity. And they should have to apply for a warrant first, like with house searches. For example they say - our information tells us that Abdul Demumu is flying in tonight at 11pm and he's suspected of having terrorist links, so we apply for a warrant to conduct searches of his laptop & mobile phone; or Dick Jimjim is coming in and same thing we have information that indicates he could be part of a pedo porn ring. Not just pull over people at random because you been in BKK for a week. Looking in your bags for drugs or food is one thing; but going through all your personal data is something else.

 

And do they really think for 1 minute that someone has a folder on the desktop of their notebook labled - little Thai girls aged 9 - 12. Or - Jihad plans to blow up Sydney Opera house. FFS give me a break. Those customs must be thick as shit for wasting their and our time.

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ive only been pulled aside twice in 17 trips in the last 2 years, once because i declared my kamagra gels and he had a quick chat asked me why i had so many, "well mate ya cant get them here so i thought id bring plenty back"

"this could be seen as a commercial quantity sir"

" what? no mate it's three months supply as per the regulations for prescription medicines when carried into australia by the passenger for personal use"

customs officer rolls his eyes "well, probably best you dont declare them again in the next three months sir"

haha so i wont

she asked "do you lub me?" i replied "i lub fucking you!"

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