Going to the UK? Don’t take your phone


via chrisd.ca

via chrisd.ca

Alanah Eriksen reports on an interesting development in the UK

Thousands of Kiwis travelling to Great Britain face having their phones seized and personal data downloaded and stored by police.

The issue has been highlighted by David Anderson, a British reviewer of terrorism laws, who is calling for checks to ensure they are not being abused.

A privacy group in this country says the process could intimidate people entering the country and fears any searches of Kiwis may restrict the ability of people trying to open bank accounts or do business abroad.

Under UK counter-terrorism laws, officers do not need to show reasonable suspicion for seizing electronic devices and can retain information for “as long as is necessary”

Is this another reason to keep your data encrypted and in the Cloud?

Data downloaded can include call history, contact books, photos and who the person is texting or emailing – even if the individual is then immediately allowed to proceed.

Up to 60,000 people a year are stopped and examined as they enter the UK – nearly 100,000 Kiwis travelled there in the past year alone – but it is not known how many of them had their phone data taken.

Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Batch Hales said any information gained by British police on Kiwis would “certainly be relayed back to New Zealand and to the other countries”.

It’s getting more difficult to enjoy travel. ¬†Either they want to see you naked and probe you where the sun don’t shine, or they strip you of every bit of your remaining dignity by seizing your most personal communications.


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  • LabTested

    Flew into the UK twice last month. Once Bristol & the other East Midlands. They gave me a grilling. but no suggestion that they wanted to look at anything or seize my phone/Nexus/Notebook/Kindle/memory stick

    ps – never stand behind a Black person trying to get through immigration at a Polish airport Better to join another que even it is 10 times longer

  • Orange

    This sounds horrid. Some of those guys will do it just to enjoy their sense of power, not for any use other than to bug you.

    • Jonathan Pull

      But its for a good cause, the fight against terrorism.
      You dont want the terrorists to win do you?

      Please read in a sarcastic tone.

      • Orange

        UK was only customs in whole world that were just plain nasty to me. Everyone else were like normal people trying to do a good job. The NZ ones need a new colour for the pants though. Light blue is icky.

        • pukakidon

          It is because in England it is more than their jobs worth to be polite to anyone. They think that everyone is beneath them, especially those shit colonials.

          • Anonymouse Coward

            Kiwi Airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain have to queue for ever at British Passport Control, former members of the Waffen SS are waved through on the nod.

      • Mr_V4

        Yes you are quite correct, a number on here have been bent over at 90degrees waiting to receive it in the name of ‘terrorism’.

  • Anonymouse Coward

    The Lotus Eaters at our airports will try to implement this. After all the dangerous water and fruit juice idea is becoming increasingly difficult to sell to the public.

    Some new idea is needed to keep their continued employment.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Yes a bunch of low wage unemployable Fucktards.

      How many people have they inconvenienced and how many terrorist plots have they stopped and at what cost. There is your answer.

      We should have the choice of taking a flight subject to searches and a flight not subject to searches. I suspect most people would opt for the freedom of no searches.

      Bunch of unemployable Fucktards.

      • Contractor

        I think the concern is more for the 2000 odd folk in the office block or the white house they fly the plane into rather than the ones on board who decided they were happy to take the risk.

  • mike

    Lets not fly off the handle team, just because someone has the ability to seize your phone doesn’t mean they will.

    How about someone puts some actual stats and facts on the table instead of what appears to be an alarmist “the sky is falling” press release from a libertarian.

  • unitedtribes

    Whats the photo supposed to mean?

  • cows4me

    Presumably they had “nothing to hide” so what’s the problem. I mean after all spying is so cool and the state would never abuse their powers, would they. Reap what you sow so don’t cry when it goes tits up.

  • Arran Hunt

    This is just Herald dramatics again and Cam, you’re better than to fall for their crap. HM Customs also have many other powers including entry into properties without a warrant, but that doesn’t mean that everybody who goes there can expect their hotel door being busted down.

    Just because the right exists, it doesn’t mean that many people will experience it.

    • Rex Widerstrom

      Glad to see you’ve absorbed the message about your place in the pecking order.

      Once upon a time, “rights” used to attach to citizens by virtue of their position at the top of the pyramid, beneath which were their elected representatives and then, on the third tier unelected officials. And woe betide the officious official who impinged on those rights.

      But now the pyramid is inverted, it’s the bureaucracy who have all the rights, and the citizenry is just grateful if it can catch a flight without some smirking halfwit with a badge indulging in a spot of totally unnecessary impromptu fisting because they’ve had another flashback to how they were never picked for anything at school.

      • Arran Hunt

        Rex, I’m not saying I agree with the rights, but understanding that Her Majesties Excise and Customs has more power than the police is just knowing a fact.

        And a right doesn’t have to just belong to a person. It is a legal allowance to do, or not do, some act. Again, knowing about the right doesn’t mean that someone supports it or has ‘absorbed the message’.

        Pointing out that the sky is blue doesn’t suggest that I want it to be blue, just that I know that it is.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Fair enough, though suggesting “Just because the right exists, it doesn’t mean that many people will experience it” goes beyond a simple statement of fact to suggest that those given power (a term I prefer to “rights” which I see as intrinsic attributes held by all humans) won’t abuse it.

          Based on experience, I’m not nearly as optimistic. I’ve yet to see a power – from handing out parking tickets to condemning people to death – that hasn’t been abused by some official at some point.

          • Arran Hunt

            Power/rights will always be abused at some point (but I guess I’m an optimist that most won’t abuse their rights/powers), and rights have that curious irony that their use could deny another person of their right to something else. But that’s another discussion.

            A right/power being abused at some point doesn’t mean that it should be removed or modified, merely that there are assholes in the world that will abuse what they are permitted to do.

            Using your example, an overzealous parking warden doesn’t mean that the right to issue parking tickets should be removed.

      • AngryTory

        “rights” used to attach to citizens

        The United Kingdom doesn’t have citizens. The Monarch has her subjects. Unapproved use of cryptography has been illegal in England since Sir Frances Walsingham.

        Tories think this is a good thing. The idea of “rights of citizens” comes first from the Paris Commune in the French revolution, and then was pushed into the original unamended US Constitution in the Bill of Rights.

      • Mr_V4

        Exactly, 1 billion fisted, 0 terrorists captured, or identified.

  • AngryTory

    Is this another reason to keep your data encrypted and in the Cloud?

    Why? Because GCHQ & the NSA can’t break any encryption you could use, and their passive cable tabs can’t read every single byte that goes from your phone to the cloud & back?

    • Mediaan

      Maybe it’s a second phone though, one unrelated to your name.

      • AngryTory

        And it’s in your back pocket next to a phone in your name?


        • Mediaan

          Why would I carry two? For me, it’s what happens.

          When travelling, I grab a simple cheap phone and plan to put a new local SIM card in when I get there.

          Problems thus solved include:

          * cheaper than all the NZ roaming plans,
          * being rung by somebody down the road in the foreign country, and trying to explain in a foreign language why you don’t want to talk, (the reason being two long-distance charges),
          * getting home and being muddled with all the cards and bits.

          • AngryTory

            Sure me too. But I’m not stupid enough to believe that GCHQ or GCSB or anyone slightly competent could just cross-correlate your “second phone” back to your first one.

            If you’re commuting between work and home (or a hotel) just locations triangulated from phone cell data is generally enough to identify individuals, even without GPS.

    • Mr_V4

      Yes as Snowden said even if you are encrypted the endpoints can be vulnerable.

      Also “cloud encryption” is a con, because most providers have access to the keys. That is what is novel with Mega, the key is only known to the user unless they disclose it, or your computer security is compromised.

      • AngryTory

        And which part of “the NSA can break your pathetic little keys” don’t you understand?

        • Mr_V4

          Do you understand the point about not even needing to break the encryption if your endpoint is vulnerable?
          Why would you even both wasting the computing time or develop a side channel attack when an OS exploit can probably give you access.

  • Jonathan Pull

    What happened to your nothing to hide nothing to worry attitude?

  • Anonymouse Coward

    You mean you can get useful information from a phone running Windows O/S?

    Goaaawn yr kidding rite?

  • James

    The UK has all the downsides of a police state with none of the upsides (low crime etc). The very simple solution is not to go there.
    From an ex-Pom.