Tuesday, 28 October 2003
USA visitor fingerprint and photo database to include travel data
Today the USA Department of Homeland Security gave its first public demonstration and explanation of the new systems for foreign visitors that will be deployed at USA international airports and seaports starting 31 December 2003 (press release, fact sheet, FAQ ).
As part of the 'US-VISIT" program, all visitors who require visas -- apparently including all transit passengers changing planes in the USA en route between other countries -- will have digital photographs and fingerprint scans entered into their "travel record" in a new database, the "Arrival/Departure Information System (ADIS)".
Earlier reports suggested that the DHS -- which still seems to have no idea what's really in reservations databases -- intended to rely on airline reservation records to match arrival and departure records. Eventually they figured out that arrival and departure flights could be in separate reservations, which can't (yet) readily be correlated. (Although the DHS wants to change that: the DHS CAPPS-II proposal would require additional standardized data in travel reservations, so as to ensure that separate reservations could easily be indexed to create a master lifelong index to your travel records.)
It's still not clear whether any of the data the DHS is now obtaining from international airlines (in violation of European Union and other countries' laws) will be included with fingerprints and photos in the ADIS database of travel records -- the DHS press release is vague as to the "travel records" to be included, and I haven't found the Privacy Act statement for the system (if there even is one, since the system will only be used on non-citizens of the USA).
Visitors from the small minority of countries (mostly wealthy European countries with predominantly white-skinned Christian populations) that the USA allows to participate in the "Visa Waiver Program" will also be exempt from the new indignities of fingerprinting and photographing on entry and exit -- at least initially. Along with the new personal interview requirements for all USA visas, the new procedures will increase the difference between the treatment given visitors from countries the USA considers first-class and second-class, and reduce visits from the latter.
Doesn't all this make you eager to come to the USA for your next holiday?Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 28 October 2003, 12:53 (12:53 PM)