Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Hearings on US-VISIT, but ...

The Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Border Security of the USA House Select Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the US-VISIT program tomorrow, 28 January 2004.

As I’ve discussed in previous articles , the US-VISIT prgram has come under intense worldwide criticism for subjecting foreign visitors, including tourists and people merely changing planes in the USA, to photgraphing and fingerprinting like criminals, and for its use in compiling lifetime travel histories on all visitors to the USA.

But don’t expect tomorrow’s Congressional hearings to call attention to the controversy. In addition to representatives of the architects of the program from the Departments of Homeland Security (Undersecrtary Asa Huthcinson, who just yesterday told an AP interviewer the DHS would order airlines to collaborate with CAPPS-II testing ) and State, the one-sided witness list (as of the close of business today in Washington) includes the following people:

  1. James May of the Air Transport Association , the lobbyinbg group for USA-based airlines that has just announced that they won’t go to bat for their customers to contest the imminent DHS security directive ordering them secretly to turn over all their reservation records for tests of the CAPPS-II passenger profiling and surveillance system
  2. Dennis Carlton of the International Biometrics Group , one of the DHS contractors sharing in the US$10 billion US-VISIT jackpot and likely to profit further if ICAO’s proposed worldwide requirement for biometric travel documents is approved
  3. Kathleen Campbell Walker of the American Immigration Lawyers Association , who has testified previously to Congress in support of both biometricv travel documents and government access to airline reservation data well in advance of flights

Privacy? Surveillance? Collection of travel dossiers? Impact on tourism and other travel to the USA? Fuggedaboutit.

A full and fair hearingy, indeed.

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 27 January 2004, 14:42 ( 2:42 PM)
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