EU justice official proposes shake-up of bloc's border security
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
One wonders how it will be implemented? Some wonder how could this happen in this day and age? While many who have suffer terrorist attacks and loss of life in their own cities feel it is time to use drastic measures to safeguard it's citizens lives and security against those who wish to take it. Will this happen in Canada? No, but then we have not suffered terrorist attacks on a scale the European community have suffered in over a decade either.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union's top justice official on Wednesday called for a massive shake-up of the bloc's border security, recommending that all visitors be screened and fingerprinted and a satellite surveillance system be set up to keep illegal migrants out.
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said EU nations had to use "the most advanced technology to reach the highest level of security" to prevent visitors from overstaying their welcome in Europe and to prevent terrorists from entering. Frattini's proposals, if approved by all 27 EU governments, would represent one of the largest security overhauls in the EU and could cost billions of dollars.
Civil liberties and human rights advocates have already criticized the plans as an attempt to keep out unwanted foreigners from Africa and other poor regions under the veiled excuse of fighting crime and terrorism. They also decry the plans as an attempt to move to a surveillance society, trampling on the right to privacy.
The sweeping measures would replicate many of the border checks already being rolled out in the United States, but would go further in demanding EU citizens also submit fingerprints to participate in computerized fast-track entry-exit customs controls.
Frattini said the proposals would safeguard the union's passport-free travel zone, which includes 24 countries. The proposals are also designed to prevent visitors from entering Europe illegally or overstaying their visas.
The plans foresee collecting fingerprints or other biometric identifiers of visitors to record their entry and exit, as well as an electronic visa system similar to one already being used in Australia, which would give an "electronic travel authorization" to visitors before they book flights.
Wednesday's border plans would come on top of a separate proposal to collect detailed data on airline passengers flying into the 27-nation union amid warnings that the threat of terrorist attacks remains high.
Such a system, modeled on one adopted by the U.S., would store 19 pieces of sensitive passenger information - including e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and payment details of flight tickets - for 13 years.
The plan now goes to the EU parliament and council of ministers before it can become law.[/q]