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Australia Censorship Wikipedia Your Rights Online

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated 197

Taco Cowboy writes "The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week. While Assange has made himself particularly unpopular with the US military by publishing video of attacks on civilians in Iraq, he's been something of a thorn in the side for the Australian government too. Last year, Wikileaks published a list of websites which were to be banned under the government's proposed Internet filter. While the aim of the filter is to block extreme pornography and the like, the blacklist included a number of more prosaic sites such as those of a travel company and a dentist.
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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:29AM (#32236210)

    Misleading headlines and summaries are pretty much what Slashdot is known for.

  • Re:Absolute power (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:35AM (#32236240)

    Petty power - like that wielded by network executives, local police officers, the clerks at your local DMV, and wikipedia administrators - corrupts immensely out of all proportion to the actual power.

  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:38AM (#32236268)

    Mod parent up. This is a ~complete non-story~. Same thing happened to me a few years ago with my old and tatty passport. They routinely do this for damaged passports (for various reasons, the primary one being they don't go through the auto passport readers so well). They'll also do this for passports with 6 months validity on them when you enter (most countries do this). The only 'unusual' thing here is that it happened to someone in the public spotlight.

    The TFA also includes a massive non-sequitur, mentioning an unrelated case (that was dropped by the AFP) that has nothing whatsoever to do with the passport issue. I doubt the immigration officer concerned even knew who he was.

    Can't believe this actually made the Slashdot front page.

  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:40AM (#32236282) Journal

    I remember a time when Americans would be bothered by being detained by any government official for more than 0 minutes. Looks like consent's been well manufactured in you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:01AM (#32236492)
    If he's moving about, presumably he's served for any marks on his criminal record, so that should have no effect on his right to leave and reenter his country. I see nothing in the story that says his passport was expired. If it wasn't expired the fact that it's "old" should be irrelevant. The expiration date is when a passport is deemed too old, not some security goon's opinion.
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:15AM (#32236640)

    Wikileaks is (probably) busy setting up to do some fund raising.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:24AM (#32236766)

    That was 15 years ago. These days, you're only supposed to complain about "excessive" treatment, for increasingly excessive definitions of "excessive". Enjoy being moderated to oblivion for implying that it's still not quite as bad elsewhere as it is in the US, though.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:38AM (#32236974) Journal

    Troll? Really? Hardly. He's just expressing his opinion. You don't have to like it, but that's no reason to censor him via subtracting points until his post disappears.

    I agree with his sentiment. I was detained in Texas by an "internal security checkpoint" or whatever the hell it's called. I was within 50 miles of the international border, and had never crossed it, but they still wanted to search the trunk of my car. I refused to comply. They made me stand-around while they shined* lights through the window of my car, and then held their ear against the trunk, before finally letting me go an hour later.

    Now anyone with common sense could have looked at my Maryland license plus how I was dressed (shorts/Tshirt), and realized I was a tourist not a smuggler. I don't know what they thought they'd find. There's not much room to hide anyone in a two-seater.

    Anyway: Rights don't have meaning unless you use them. INSIST upon compliance; refuse to consent to warrantless searches and remain silent.

    * Irregular verbs are illogical. They should be added to the list of obsolete words. IMHO.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:43AM (#32237038)

    First they laugh at your research, then they laugh at your proof, then they credit the wrong person with the discovery.

  • by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:01AM (#32237344)

    Now anyone with common sense could have looked at my Maryland license plus how I was dressed (shorts/Tshirt), and realized I was a tourist not a smuggler.

    While I congratulate you on your refusal to comply for no reason, I have to point out this is one of the absolute butt-fuckingly stupidest things I've ever read. In your world, do burglars go around in striped shirts and small black masks over their eyes, carrying sacks with dollar signs on them? Do pirates all have wooden peg legs and eye patches?

    "I didn't look like a smuggler so obviously I wasn't one." Christ.

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:05PM (#32238560)

    as he gave back the passports and papers

    So he took your passport!!!

    I hope you also went on a crying to the media about the abuse.

  • by psm321 ( 450181 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:30PM (#32244938) Journal

    It's unfortunate that you expected better treatment because of your license plate/looks, and not because _nobody_ should by treated like that without strong probable cause or preferably a warrant.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:54PM (#32247970)

    Actually I've found the US immigration and border patrol people you meet in Canada are generally very good and, as long as you do you best to follow the rules, they have all been very helpful.

    The problem with the US Customs/TSA is that they have no mandate on what they cannot do. Yes you should follow the rules when going through any nations customs procedure but that procedure should be clearly spelled out for both sides. In Australia AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) has a clear mandate on what they are looking for, you also have a legal responsibility to declare everything that is classified as a Dutiable good, Excisable good or Prohibited (or restricted) good as well as various questions about you and your travels (health, last point of departure, if you've been in certain specified countries, all of this is on the arrival card you fill out). It is a crime under Australian law to refuse to answer any legal questions, but this is the same law that prevents AQIS from asking illegal questions. The US needs to make a law restricting the power of Customs so they can do their job (protecting America's borders) without abusing the rights of US citizens and visitors.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan