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United States Government Privacy Politics

DHS To Grab Biometric Data From Green Card Holders 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the imports-with-documentation dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Nextgov: "The Homeland Security Department has announced plans to expand its biometric data collection program to include foreign permanent residents and refugees. Almost all noncitizens will be required to provide digital fingerprints and a photograph upon entry into the United States as of Jan. 18. A notice (PDF) in Friday's Federal Register said expansion of the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US VISIT) will include 'nearly all aliens,' except Canadian citizens on brief visits. Those categories include permanent residents with green cards, individuals seeking to enter on immigrant visas, and potential refugees. The US VISIT program was developed after the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks to collect fingerprints from foreign visitors and run them against the FBI's terrorist watch list and other criminal databases. Another phase of the project, to develop an exit system to track foreign nationals leaving the country, has run into repeated setbacks." Reader MirrororriM points out other DHS news that they're thinking about monitoring blogs for information on terrorists.
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DHS To Grab Biometric Data From Green Card Holders

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  • Give it a couple of years and another homegrown terrorist. The only thing holding them back is that citizens, uh, vote!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remember the fear of being asked for "Your papers?" in the old USSR?. This is going to be just as bad - this junk needs to stop. How you you feel as an American citizen, when going into another country, and being fingerprinted, retinal scanned, etc.

      Lack of privacy, unreasonable search, etc..... I say no way.

      • by Alex Belits (437) * on Thursday December 25, 2008 @02:45PM (#26230955) Homepage

        Remember the fear of being asked for "Your papers?" in the old USSR?

        No. And I lived there. USSR had single document -- passport -- serving as the primary ID for everything. "Your papers?" stuff was from Nazi Germany, where government was extremely concerned about losing track of ethnic minorities, what seems to be the exact equivalent of this "effort" in US.

    • by BSAtHome (455370)

      It doesn't hold them back. It takes a bit of getting used to. A homegrown terrorist would likely make it go a lot faster.

      I really like to see the outcry of "we want security" the next time something happens. It looks like the US is shutting down step by step and heading directly into the dark ages. Who wants to deal with a bully? So, US citizens, if you are so afraid to die, you surely are more afraid of living.

      • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @04:45PM (#26231423) Journal
        I find it hard to understand why many Americans don't understand why people in the world are sick and tired of America, and have lost most of their respect for the country. Especially as this article demonstrates, they are now treating many of their friends as criminals and enemies. After years of living and working in the U.S. I no longer want to have anything to do with the place, especially after being made to feel like a criminal the last time I went down there. I know... some nutbar patriot will yell at me "so stay the f**k out blah blah blah"... this is another problem with many down there. Patriotism blinds people too much to see the flaws of the current mindset there. A good example is how after the ridiculous Iraq war started, people would label others unpatriotic if you voiced your objection to it. Now of course, most in the U.S. realize this was a bad war entered into by a lie, poorly executed, poorly managed, and a waste of people's lives. But at the time, even the media lost their objectivity. Anyway, the reasons I feel like I do should be considered a symptom of the current state of affairs in the U.S. and a cause of concern. There are a lot of people outside of the U.S. that I talk to that don't like the U.S. I used to always take the side of the U.S. in conversations with them. I like the place. I liked the place. I now find it very difficult to side with America's point of view and actions, and don't side with America nearly as much in conversations with people. It no longer welcomes people... it eyes them with distrust and makes you feel like an outsider when you arrive at the border (hi welcome to America... foreigner... smile for the camera, give me your fingers). Distrust is only marginally this side of outright dislike and xenophobia. America, get some help, take off the tinfoil hat.
        • by flajann (658201) <flajann.linuxbloke@com> on Thursday December 25, 2008 @06:04PM (#26231825) Homepage Journal
          Paranoia in the US reigns supreme. Apparently, it somewhat does as well in Canada. But I am not sure that the annoyance going on with crossing from the US into Canada is not just 'tit for tat' of the nonsense that happens with Canadians attempt to cross into the US, or if Canada has taken on some paranoia of its own.

          The last time I tried to cross the Canadian border was so annoying I have not bothered going back to Canada in a long time. Every since 9/11, paranoia has been reigning supreme.

          Of course, tracking fingerprints and pictures will not make anyone more secure, since (a) the probability of dying from a terrorist attack is tiny in comparasion to many other daily dangers we embrace everyday without a second thought, like driving, for instance, and (b) the would-be terrorist organizations, if they are really all that inclined, need only find fresh recruits who have not been fingered by the FBI or Homeland Insecurity yet.

          41,000 people die on US highways every year. How many people die in the US from terrorism every year? The attention to the so-called threat does not mesh with the actual facts and the real risk factors.

          So I am not impressed in the least about any of this crap. Just another excuse for the government to stir up fear to create its own "need".

          • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:44PM (#26232537) Journal
            I will give you that. Canadian border (so called) guards are really a pain in the ass. Really, they are glorified tax collectors who will rip your car apart looking for something they can apply a duty to. They grill Canadians to see if you might look guilty and they can then have an excuse to search your vehicle. "Where are you going, whey are you going there", etc. etc. etc. My brother one time finally lost it and asked said to them, "look I'm a Canadian coming back to Canada, you can't deport me, so why are you giving me such a hard time." They searched his car for three hours in retaliation. They won't say it was retaliation, but we all know what happens when you step on a rent-a-cop's ego. And they are rent-a-cops. When they get word that bad guys might be trying to cross the border (like suspected murderers on the run), the Canadian border guards run away. This happened a couple of times in 2006 at the Peace Arch Crossing in British Columbia/Washington State (Highway 99/I-5 respectively). But at least you know they are after money and not treating anyone any different. Up until the last time I went to the U.S.A. I hated crossing into Canada more. But now, the U.S. wins the 'onerous prize'.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by flajann (658201)

              ...Up until the last time I went to the U.S.A. I hated crossing into Canada more. But now, the U.S. wins the 'onerous prize'.

              Yes, indeed. The last time I came back from Canada, the US ding dongs gave me a very hard time, and was deliberately trying to work up my ire. It's as if these guys have nothing better to do other than to harass border crossers.

              To which I say, what's the point? What is gained by bad-assing people crossing the border? It's really takes from the whole idea of a "good getaway" if you are always being steamed at the border.

              For me, it's a 3-4 hour drive to the border, and it's not something I look forward t

        • You talk about all of those aspects as though they are unique to the US. In case it's somehow not blindingly obvious, they're NOT.

          Japan already takes the measures mentioned in the article. The outrage was minimal.
          Other countries have just the amount of blind patriotism and jingoism that let atrocities breeze by. No one seems to notice!

          Keep focusing on the US, though. I know it's more gratifying to the ego to criticize entire groups of individuals as a whole, especially when they're presently king of the

          • I credit any other country that is doing this (and especially EU countries and Canada) to forced paranoia spreading from the U.S. These countries have to do business with the U.S. (you can't change economic patterns over night). They need to softly assuage America's fears by saying "see, we're being safe too... stop holding up our travellers and shipments and causing economic chaos."
    • That's right. Soon the only people not in the government db will be those who entered the country illegally outside of designated entry points.
      • by BeerCat (685972)

        That's right. Soon the only people not in the government db will be those who entered the country illegally outside of designated entry points.

        ...or those who are running the government db.

        (what, you thought they would be honest enough to include themselves?)

  • In a world where wiretaps, illegal searches, etc are very big issues, how on earth is simply keeping track of public and readily available, likely easily searchable blogs not an obvious choice over the other ways to gather information??

    If slashdot had a terrorist corner, id expect the DHS to log in now and again. anything less would be negligent.

    P.S. they should post anon. you know, for security.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      In a world where wiretaps, illegal searches, etc are very big issues, how on earth is simply keeping track of public and readily available, likely easily searchable blogs not an obvious choice over the other ways to gather information??

      Wiretaps happen in real time at chokepoints.
      Illegal searches are relatively narrow.

      Blogs = the internet. And searching that is a much harder and broader task.

      I'm not defending the illegal government actions, just pointing out that what they've been doing is vastly easier than monitoring *the internet* for terrorist chatter.

      • according to hitwise [hitwise.com] blog traffic comprises only 1.19% of all internet traffic in the UK, and the percentage for the US may be even lower since the market share of blog sites is 1.09% in the UK and 0.73% in the US.

        so, saying "blogs = the internet" is not very accurate. monitoring blog sites would be far easier than trying to monitor the 6.2 billion overseas phone calls Americans make each year. unlike the voice data from phone calls, it's far easier to sift through the text data that constitutes most blog t

        • blog traffic comprises only 1.19% of all internet traffic in the UK

          Contrary to spam... which BTW is an excellent tool to hide terrorist communication channels and to defeat traffic analysis. I'm wondering that paranoid governments have not yet criminalized spamming on grounds of terrorism, i.e. enact CAN(T)-SPAM v2.0.

  • This doesn't effect me as I am a citizen. That said, this is getting ridiculous. This data doesn't do DHS any good for terror tracking as there has been research suggesting that the overwhelming amounts of information is a hindrance rather then a benefit. All it's good for is when the DHS, FBI, DEA, ATF, etc. decide they don't like you, they can dig through the data to find any trivial issue to drag you into an interrogation room and work you over.

    Thankfully, with Obama becoming president, the odds of yo

    • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Thursday December 25, 2008 @01:40PM (#26230635) Journal

      This doesn't effect me as I am a citizen.

      I disagree. Tolerating routine violations of privacy for one class of people desensitizes us to routine violations of privacy for everyone.

      Thankfully, with Obama becoming president, the odds of you getting Gitmo'd have reduced drastically.

      The odds were always far lower than the odds of getting killed by a drunk driver, but that's beside the point. The problem is that our government has gotten away with imprisoning people without charges for the first time since the Roosevelt administration, and the public outcry was negligible.

      -jcr

      • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Thursday December 25, 2008 @02:09PM (#26230801)

        I disagree. Tolerating routine violations of privacy for one class of people desensitizes us to routine violations of privacy for everyone.

        I would go a little further and say that systematic abuse of any class of individuals, no matter how unpopular, is something worthy of caution. Take punitive taxation of smokers, just to pick an example. I've never smoked, never will smoke, think it's a spectacularly bad idea ... but I still disagree with heavy taxes applied to cigarette sales. Why? Because if we tolerate governmental mistreatment of one group (no matter what the justification) the odds are they'll eventually do something that hits closer to home. Keep firmly in mind that a significant fraction of our leadership and senior bureaucrats are either sociopaths or have a few well-intentioned screws loose. Either way, it's best not to give them too much authority, because they'll misuse it.

        • by jcr (53032)

          I have a somewhat different reason for opposing punitive taxation of smokers. First, taxation for behavior control is a terrible idea in itself; it's not the place of the government to command us. Secondly, the more money government gets by whatever means, the more government we'll have.

          Either way, it's best not to give them too much authority, because they'll misuse it.

          As PJ O'Rourke put it, giving money to governments is like giving whiskey and car keys to adolescents.

          -jcr

          • I have a somewhat different reason for opposing punitive taxation of smokers. First, taxation for behavior control is a terrible idea in itself; it's not the place of the government to command us. Secondly, the more money government gets by whatever means, the more government we'll have.

            Either way, it's best not to give them too much authority, because they'll misuse it.

            As PJ O'Rourke put it, giving money to governments is like giving whiskey and car keys to adolescents.

            -jcr

            I agree: we're talking about social engineering, and that rarely works out well, no matter how well-intentioned. And frankly, as an American I don't want to live in an engineered society.

            Unfortunately, the U.S. Federal Government not only has the car keys, but the entire liquor cabinet as well. The situation has only worsened in that regard since the recent Federal takeover of a substantial part of the financial sector. Now, maybe that was a necessary move, and maybe it wasn't ... time will tell. But nev

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nurb432 (527695)

        It will also be slowly expanded to include citizens.

        Give them an inch, and they take a foot.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        The problem is that our government has gotten away with imprisoning people without charges for the first time since the Roosevelt administration, and the public outcry was negligible.

        Umm, you realize that we are at war, right? With people that don't follow the accepted laws of war. What should we do with them? Bring them into the United States and run them through the civilian justice system?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807)

      This doesn't effect me as I am a citizen.

      Wrong.. Brazil has a policy of exact reciprocity with border regulations and (at least in theory; I think they often don't care in practice) takes Americans finger prints. Even more interesting, the UK is beginning to do exactly the same thing (take fingerprints of non-citizens), following on from the US example. US people are of course, not citizens of the UK.

      However, part of your point is right. It's very difficult to get people to fight something where most of

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @01:30PM (#26230565) Journal
    In order to become a resident alien (green card holder), fingerprints and photos are already taken by the DHS (was INS). So how is this going to help? Can't they digitize the existing fingerprints?
    • If they don't check your fingerprints when you come into the country to make sure they match the fingerprints your green card says you have, then there's no point in knowing their fingerprints in the first place as impersonating someone else would become trivial.
  • Monitoring Blogs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#26230607)

    Sounds like a good way to poison your monitoring database.

    • Sounds like a good way to poison your monitoring database.

      I have the feeling there's more noise than signal in there already anyways. If you're collecting data that is ostensibly this important (I mean, what's more important that stopping terrorists?) then you tend towards a myopic, packrat-like view ... don't throw anything away, don't get too selective, because you might miss something, might not be able to bring up some important factoid on command. So, these guys just squirrel away anything and everything and don't worry too much about filtering.

      Matter of f

  • D.H.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @01:37PM (#26230613)

    der heutigen Stasi.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @02:14PM (#26230827)

      der heutigen Stasi.

      . . . this means something like, "today's Stasi."

      The Stasi were a nasty and creepy bunch of East German secret police: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi [wikipedia.org].

      They ended collecting *so* much information, that they couldn't analyze it all:

      The MfS infiltrated almost every aspect of GDR life. In the mid-1980s, a network of civilian informants, Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs, Unofficial Collaborators), began growing in both German states; by the time East Germany collapsed in 1989, the MfS employed an estimated 91,000 employees and 300,000 informants. About one of every 50 East Germans collaborated with the MfS â" one of the most extensive police infiltrations of a society in history. In 2007 an article in BBC stated that "Some calculations have concluded that in East Germany there was one informer to every seven citizens."

      The lesson here is that if you are collecting a lot of data, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are collecting the right (and useful) data.

      • by dave562 (969951)
        They also didn't have big fat data warehouses and NLP programs to sort through them. By the time the law enforcement community is actively capturing data on you, they have a really good idea of who you are. They are tagging the data correctly and probably doing so with the intention of bringing a court case against you. Even if the case never comes, as might be the case when they are observing "persons of interest", they are still applying the same processes as if they were going to eventually prosecute
      • The lesson here is that if you are collecting a lot of data, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are collecting the right (and useful) data.

        And that even if you are collecting the most valuable data, if you swamp your facilities for rapidly analyzing said data, you might as well not bother collecting it. Granted, the U.S. Federal Government has far, far more powerful analytical capabilities than the East German government ever had ... but they're also collecting data on a vast scale without, it would seem, much thought as to what they're collecting or why. Furthermore, even mass quantities of relevant data can be subject to errors in interpreta

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MarkvW (1037596)

        Verry interesting!

        Even with advanced computer technology, data collection as undertaken by the Stasi, would require a big bureaucracy. Acting on any information mined from that data collection would require an even greater bureaucracy. I doubt that any half-aware political society would tolerate that kind of expense--especially when it results in significant annoyance.

        On the other hand, the US has been putting up with the obnoxious TSA for a long time. . .. Hopefully that officious bureaucracy will be me

      • by cpghost (719344) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @04:18PM (#26231335) Homepage

        The lesson here is that if you are collecting a lot of data, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are collecting the right (and useful) data.

        It's like the NSA drinking from a fire hose: they are collecting so much more data than they can analyze in real time! Such data is only useful post factum, to retrace what happened (cf. 9/11). The chance to catch something useful in time and react proactively is extremely slim.

        So the question is: is it worth it to undermine informational freedom of citizens (and here non-citizens) and give Government a huge database that could be used to silence opposition by blackmailing or that could leak data to third parties like, say, private investigators, just to facilitate forensic investigations? Some may say yes, others would say no.

  • these all are the eggs laid by the top management republicans staffed those organizations with. leave aside creating them in the first place.

    unbelievable isnt it ? they are 1 month from being fired, yet still try to force their agenda.

    actually not. self centered, extremist right groups tend to lose perception of reality after a point. nazis at the closing stages of the war, or nixon still saying he is an honest man, are examples of that.
  • ...but could somebody explain to me how capturing these data enhances "National Security."

    It might be a waste of time because folks who harm this country's citizens are more oftem willing to die. That is after harming the country anyway.

    Secondly, our borders are porous to the extent that we've failed to stem the flow of drugs despite spending close to a trillion dollars on "border security."

    I just do not understand.

    • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @02:47PM (#26230969) Journal

      Bad guy A drives a car to target B and leaves his finger prints all over the place. Target B gets destroyed but the biometric evidence is left behind. Law enforcement collects the biometric data from Bad Guy A and runs it through the big data warehouse in the sky. They then presumably know all that there is to know about him. At the very least, they know where he came into the country, where he has been living and from there, perhaps who has been associating with.

      I know a guy who works with the Secret Service and very well might be one of the primary agents protecting Obama once he gets into the White House. We've had long conversations about what the government does and what their capabilities are with regards to intelligence gathering. Despite all of the rhetoric about big brother and loss of privacy, I'm quite comfortable knowing that unless I'm actively trying to destablize the government, they don't care about what I am up to.

      • by jcr (53032)

        I'm quite comfortable knowing that unless I'm actively trying to destablize the government, they don't care about what I am up to.

        Do you trust all future administrations with anything they might find out about you? Don't forget that Dick Nixon and Bill Clinton both illegally accessed IRS records on their political opponents, for example.

        -jcr

        • by dave562 (969951)

          I realize I am going to sound like someone who "doesn't" have anything to hide, but I don't. That's not to say that I support whole sale eavesdropping and privacy violations because I don't. However, I'm not planning on engaging in any crimes or activities that will draw attention. I know felons, both state and Federal, for crimes ranging from computer crimes, to serious drug cases. In all the cases, those people have deserved what they got and knew what they were doing was illegal.

          Of all the people in law

      • Despite all of the rhetoric about big brother and loss of privacy, I'm quite comfortable knowing that unless I'm actively trying to destablize the government, they don't care about what I am up to.

        Today. But as their technology programs are expanded they may be forced to care about what you're up to. What happens the day a computer data-mining program decides that your purchase, travel, or association activities are too far outside the norm (perhaps not even specifically troublesome) and flags you for investigation? It would be irresponsible of them to ignore this and future laws will probably accept this as a reasonable basis for investigation, if they don't already.

        You have the expectation that the

        • by dave562 (969951)

          What you are talking about already happens. If you try to buy certain chemicals, the DEA cares. If you try to purchase a bunch of fertilizer the BATF cares. If you move around certain amounts of money, the IRS cares.

          We live in a country with a justice system. Just because you might be investigated for something does not mean that you're going to jail. If you have a legit reason to be in possession of something then you don't have anything to worry about. If you're a professional chemist, you can get precur

  • for obvious reasons
  • I entered US as a refugee in 91 and got green card in 94. I was photographed and fingerprinted on both occassions. What is big deal?
    • by Angstroem (692547)

      I entered US as a refugee in 91 and got green card in 94. I was photographed and fingerprinted on both occassions. What is big deal?

      That you still didn't manage to even get a decent sense of the language of the very country you reside in for almost 18 years now?

  • by Zarhan (415465) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @02:16PM (#26230839)

    I've been to the US numerous times, all on business trips (I get paid to travel there). Anyway, back in 2003, Dallas, on first trip ever, I was basically waved through...not so bad even coming with an completely empty, unstamped passport.

    Unfortunately, ever since then, on multiple trips (Immigration checks at NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston) the fingerprints have been the least annoying part.

    When the US-VISIT scheme was introduced, I went through the DHS website and looked into the privacy and data storage implications. Basically the PDF docs on the site showed such a horrendous architecture that I was pretty confident that my fingerprints will be safe in bowels of a system that probably won't ever really work (and I'm not a US taxpayer so I don't care that much where their money goes).

    This was confirmed on my arrival to PHL - I thought that since I've been on multiple visits before that the officer probably has all my info on her screen the moment she wipes my (machine-readeable, not yet biometric) passport.

    Guess what? I have scandinavian letters in my name (ääääööö). The officer asked me under what name I'd like to enter the US - should she type in my name with ä => ae or ä => a conversion. I gave the ä => a version since that's what everyone is in reality using... but kinda felt a bit let down of the awesome border security procedures...I'm starting to realize where all the Usama/Osama problems stem from. I thought that they'd at least use, say, the passport number if not the "code" field as primary key...At least if on some trip I land in trouble I can just claim "No, it's just a misspelled name, I'm really that other guy..."

    Point I'm getting here: Fingerprints are minor piece of annoyance that add a bit to the travelers problems. For me, the privacy implications were pretty well addressed by DHS docs. The guy that interviews you at the border is the first person who you meet in foreign country - it's his behavior that gives the first impression.

    The annoying part has been the attitude of almost all occasions I've basically felt that arrogance of "YOU ARE NOTHING, WHY THE HELL SHOULD I LET YOU IN, you pitiful European". Some vindication came on the last time in:

    I was recently in Minneapolis IETF, and went through Chicago again (to change planes to Minneapolis). I don't know whether it was "economy is down, this foreign guy might bring in some serious money" or the fact that it was Obama's home town and everyone was still in great post-election mood and they forgot to be jackasses - but the guy at the desk was really nice. He ofc asked all the same questions as every other time - where I'm going and why - but the attitude made me actually feel welcome to the US. He basically apologized that they have to these days take the whole hand (prints from all fingers) but also said how much better the reader is compared to old one, told me that if I'm planning to spend any time in Chicago he could name a couple of good steakhouses - before stamping my passport and sending me on to the baggage carousel.

    Now, timewise it wasn't any faster than any previous visits - same 5 minutes to process me - but I actually felt a bit happy after 16-hour flight (with transfers).

    Mind you, I've gotten the "I'm welcome" feeling in EVERY other country I've visited, ever. At all borders they've acquired the same information - why I'm there, when I'm leaving and what I'm planning to do - but I'll be glad to visit Canada, UK, Thailand, Japan, Australia, NZ, and even Russia again - as a tourist, spending my own money.

    If I'll get the same experience on my subsequent US business trips as I got on my latest one, I might actually come in again as a tourist, bring friends, and spend some of my own money, too.

    • by TheSpoom (715771) *

      I find that the ratio of USCBP border agents who are nice versus annoyed to even have to deal with you is about 1:10.

      I'm pretty sure making people feel uncomfortable is part of their training under the auspices that it'll make them slip up on something if they're lying.

      And don't feel bad... it's not any better for Canadians, or at least, not for me.

      • by syzler (748241)
        And don't feel bad... it's not any better for Canadians, or at least, not for me.

        Or for Americans. I am an American and travel with an American passport. Upon the return of my last trip, amoung other questions I was asked "Why are you returning to the United States? What do you do for a living? Where are you going to sleep tonight?"

        Hmmm, Why would an American who lives in American and travels with an American passport be returning to America? I'll give you a few moments to ponder that one sparky.
    • by lahvak (69490)

      I have number of very similar experiences. I live in Michigan, and have several extended family members in New England that I visit quite often. The shortest way to drive from Michigan to New England is through Canada. I have traveled his way number of times in past several years. It's always the same: when entering Canada, you are welcomed by a pleasant officer, who asks the usual questions you get asked on any other border crossing, plus if you have any firearms in the vehicle. Then they let you in t

    • It's really random (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      Part of the problem is that there's little to no accountability in the DHS so assholes get to stay. Another part of the problem is it doesn't pay all that well so they don't get the best and brightest, as it were. So you get a real mixed bag. I've had people who were extremely polite, I've had assholes that were looking for a way to keep me out (I'm a US citizen so they can't).

      On the Canadian side of the border (where I usually travel) I've found they are usually politer, but not always and generally not mu

  • They're doing this because they have caught oh-so-many terrorists using that fingerprint and face data so far, right?

  • Japan is doing the same thing, and I suspect other countries are as well. I think European nations just quietly scan your passport, including picture. Relatively speaking, the US isn't all that bad.

    Of course, I think the US should lead by being more open and more liberal. I don't see what all this data is really good for.

  • by matchlight (609707) * on Thursday December 25, 2008 @03:18PM (#26231093)
    Every time I read about this kind of thing... more surveillance, finger printing, suspicionless checkpoints, etc, etc...

    I think two things:

    1. WTF. I'm not a crimial, and the majority of people aren't either and yet we're all subjected to this kind of BS.

    2. Does it even work? Why are countries making all of these efforts and the citizens are the last to hear about it.

    Will biometrics really make a difference at the borders? The first thing I think of are ways that a person could get around this .. and you know the US border is still pretty open.

    By water or land people cross the borders all the time.

    This all started with 9/11 by people who were in the country legally... so ya, this just doesn't make any sense to me and makes me more frustrated with our governments.
    • by BeerCat (685972)

      Why are countries making all of these efforts and the citizens are the last to hear about it.

      Because those selling the "solutions" are really good at their job, and those buying have difficulty saying "no"

  • Good.

    Nothing can be had with a fingerprint and a picture.

    If you don't believe me, stop picking ANYTHING up, don't handle a FUCKING thing gloveless, and don't EVER leave the house.

    I guess refugee's better not attempt to get a drivers license, either. Nor public benefits, since both (at least in my state) require a fingerprint and / or a picture.

    Fuck, getting paranoid about having your picture taken. Gee, that's A LOT tinfoil hat. Since nearly, if not ALL, of us have a government issued ID card with at lea

  • This is old news. I'm a resident alien since 3 years. They took all 10 fingerprints an eyescan and a blood sample as well as mugshot pictures. A fingerprint and a picture is on your resident card

  • Already done (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @04:32PM (#26231377)

    When I applied for (and subsequently received, in 2006) my green card, a photo and fingerprints were taken.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by frusengladje (990955)
      Yeah, when I got my my green card like 15 years ago, they required all 10 fingerprints, as well as a photo. And as someone has already mentioned, your picture and fingerprint are prominently displayed on it.
  • Dude... (Score:4, Funny)

    by lxs (131946) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @05:37PM (#26231673)
    Reader MirrororriM points out other DHS news that they're thinking about monitoring blogs for information on terrorists.

    Dude, I totally saw Bin Laden at the local supermarket yesterday.
  • Except Canadians? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by billybobmac (1277592)
    I was travelling with a Canadian passport. I arrived at San Francisco, with a subsequent connecting flight to Toronto. The agent asked me the usual questions, I showed him my ticket etc... He then asked me to look at the camera and place my fingers on the scanner. This was in 2005, and had I had never seen this before and he said that all foreigners travelling in the US had to do this. Why was it that even though I was a Canadian on a short visit (transiting), was forced to get finger printed even before t

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