US Wants More Fingerprints from Visitors
The Department of Homeland Security is at it again. The body that exists solely to reorganize itself is determined to know even more about anybody who wants to visit American shores. I wonder exactly how many terrorists-- not just people with similar names as suspected terrorists, but actual terrorists-- have been caught because of ID. I bet it's a low number, hovering around zero.
This is because ID does not measure intention. Neither do fingerprints. Look, Dept. of Homeland Security, I like CSI, too, but I know that it's a work of fiction.
The US will increase the amount of information it holds on foreign visitors when it takes all 10 fingerprints from air travellers rather than the usual two.
Currently foreign travellers must have their index fingers scanned into a database when they enter the US by agents of the Department of Homeland Security. Those prints can then be checked against a database of fingerprints held by police forces or the FBI.
That number will increase to all 10 fingerprints on a trial at 10 US airports. It is planned that the programme will be in place in all airports in around a year, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
US authorities claim the current scan of two fingers takes around 15 seconds and that the new process will not take significantly longer than that. Tourism bodies in the US have expressed concern that such measures are harming the tourist trade, however.
Several of my friends have put off visiting the US because they don't
want to bother with the extra "security" procedures, and this won't
make things any better. One mate of mine, from Johannesburg, had to visit the US embassy there to do a little interview before visiting the US. What if he lived in another city, hundreds of miles from Jo'burg? "Forget it", he said, "I'd just have not gone".