Samuel Blackman, NZ Backpacker, Gets Tech Gear Taken at Auckland Airport

December 12, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Samuel Blackman, a backpacker who returned home for Christmas, had his tech gear taken at the Auckland Airport, and he isn’t sure why.

Blackman had with him two smartphones, an iPad, an external hard drive, and a laptop.

A customs officer took them all and demanded the passwords, reported the New Zealand Herald.

Blackman was at first not given a reason on why the things were taken from him.

But later a customs official told him they were searching everything for objectionable material under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, Blackman said via Twitter.

Blackman isn’t sure what they’re referring to, he said.

“We’re going to have to detain this,” the official told him at the time. “We’re going to have to send this to a forensic investigator.”

The official refused to let him call his parents, who were waiting for him to exit the airport’s security area.

Blackman believes that the probe could be connected to his attending a meeting at the Royal Institute of British Architects that dealt with opposition to spying.

He did give officials his passwords. “I had nothing to hide,” he said via Twitter.

“I wasn’t given any info on how to get anything back other than to ‘wait for a call from the investigator.'”

A customs spokeswoman refused to discuss the case.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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