Australia, once a country of rather basic mien, has made great strides in the direction of culture. It makes wine that can mostly be ingested without indigestion. It even occasionally qualifies for the World Cup.
However, I wonder whether a newly noticed Australian cultural wrinkle might set the country back in the perceptions of many international travelers.
The national barometer, the Sydney Morning Herald, is alerting visitors to Australia that their laptops, and indeed the rest of their luggage, might now be searched for porn.
It seems to have taken the Australian Sex Party, which does much sterling work--including promoting green sex toys--to first notice a change to those little cards that aliens must sign before entering one of the jewels of Pacific Rim exploration.
Since September of last year, visitors have been required to answer whether they are carrying "pornography" on their person, place, or thing. This seems a something of a hoary question, as my dim knowledge of such things suggests that some pornography is, indeed, legal.
Perhaps some will be changing their travel plans when they hear that Australian customs officials confirmed to the Herald that they do now have the power to peek inside your laptop, iPhone, or even iPad and check whether you might have some naughty images or, even better, movies.
Others will be relieved that the customs officials declared that they will apply "tact and discretion." Which, presumably would mean no loud exclamations including the words "Cor!" "Blimey!" and "Sheila!"… Read more