A story on news.com.au caught our attention overnight, in which a ‘British-Australian IT businessman Nathan Hague claimed his privacy was violated and that ABF staff installed surveillance software on his phone at Sydney Airport.
Mr Hague claims that after taking control of his laptop and Android mobile phone for inspection – something Australian Border Force has the right to do under section 186 of the Commonwealth Customs Act 1901 – further clarified by their parent the Department of Home Affairs.
According to Mr Hague, the ‘evidence’ of hacking was that the phone was returned with a ‘dark blue background with “a black, floating, animated octopus” on the phone’ which he interpreted ‘as officers having installed surveillance or routing software’.
Australian Border Force has of course denied this – and rightly so. For anyone familiar with Android – and Android Oreo specifically, this will be familiar as the easter egg from Oreo:
The bottom line here is that Mr Hague, according to his Facebook post is actually now aware of this, but still maintains that Australian Border Force staff copied files from his phone.
Australian Border Force has the right to inspect devices – and they have the right to do it in private, which Mr Hague says he would have been more comfortable being present for. It’s a simple matter of if you want to enter through customs into Australia, then you follow the rules, of which inspecting devices is one. Mr Hague did not have to enter Australia.
In terms of tinfoil hat brigade, this gentleman ranks rather highly.