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Cancer Patient Held At Airport For Missing Fingerprints

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the john-doe dept.

Medicine 323

A 62-year-old man visiting his relatives in the US was held for four hours by immigration officials after they could not detect his fingerprints because of a cancer drug he was taking. The man was prescribed capecitabine, a drug used to treat cancers in the head, neck, breast, and stomach. Some of the drug's side-effects include chronic inflammation of the palms or soles of the feet, which can cause the skin to peel or bleed. "This can give rise to eradication of fingerprints with time," explained Tan Eng Huat, senior consultant in the medical oncology department at Singapore's National Cancer Center. "Theoretically, if you stop the drug, it will grow back, but details are scanty. No one knows the frequency of this occurrence among patients taking this drug and nobody knows how long a person must be on this drug before the loss of fingerprints," he added.

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The scariest words in the English language (5, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127893)

We're from the government, and we're here to help you!

Re:The scariest words in the English language (0)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128459)

Now if only they could be a bit more specific about that.
There is more than one way to "help", after all.
In this case, why do they insist on fingerprints to identify someone?
Sure, they might want to know if the person they are holding already has a record.
If not, though, then certainly they are creating a new record, right?
So, gather retinal scans, voice prints, DNA samples, whatever.
Those will suffice if captured after doing something in the future.
If the dude survives the cancer the drug will stop and eventually they might be able to request fingerprints from his foreign government, to finally find out if he is wanted for something done in the past.

Re:The scariest words in the English language (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129515)

We're from the government, and we're here to help you!

Uh, what's that got to do with anything? When would that have been said during this exchange? I mean, customs officials don't say "we're from the government" and they DEFINITELY don't say "We're here to help you."

The *REAL* scariest words in the English language (0)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129961)

Bend over Biotch.
Customs officials may not verbally say it, but their attitude screams it.

Re:The scariest words in the English language (5, Insightful)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129887)

Bullshit.

The scariest words in the English language are "I'm just doing my job." That doesn't sound so good in German either.

Besides, immigration officials aren't there to help anyone. Just ask the tourists who don't come to the US anymore.

just doing their job (5, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127923)

Why think when you can follow protocol?

Re:just doing their job (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128253)

Why think when you can follow protocol?

I think we're better off this way.

Re:just doing their job (5, Insightful)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128677)

Protocol, and current law, requires fingerprinting for incoming foreigners. I think DNA should be a good alternative if fingerprints are not available. I wonder what the protocol is for a double arm amputee. What if they had just said, "Oh well, you look sick and you won't do anything, so we'll let you in."
What if they find out he's on cancer drugs because he's some sort of commie biochem guy and is now sick from that. He's dying and wants to do damage to America. He blows up a school. Oh, well, after a few years they'll find he wasn't printed coming into the country. Parents of kids killed sue because protocol wasn't followed, allowing a dangerous wanted person in the country, just because he was sick.
Sickness does not beget special treatment. A plan B should be in place for this sort of thing.

Re:just doing their job (0, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128873)

allowing a dangerous wanted person in the country, just because he was sick

You know, if they diagnosed me with a terminal disease, my first thought would be "I know, I'll go to the US to rot in jail!"

Moron. The world doesn't care about your crappy little country. When was the last time a real terrorist was found in a border check?

Re:just doing their job (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129389)

Exactly.

Anyway, the easiest way to tell that someone is a terrorist, is that they *don't* get stopped by the American border guards.

Any self respecting terrorist will make damm sure their papers are in order and they have a good cover story.

Re:just doing their job (5, Interesting)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129567)

When was the last time a real terrorist was found in a border check?

Nine years ago. [wikipedia.org]

Re:just doing their job (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129593)

When was the first time a real terrorist was found in a border check?

Re:just doing their job (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129305)

Sickness does not beget special treatment.

I'll remember that the next time I see a handicapped placard on a car.

Re:just doing their job (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129981)

Yeah, that's a realistic scenerio.

Put down the remote and go camping or do something else for a while. TV is ACTUALLY starting to think for you.

Re:just doing their job (1, Troll)

treeves (963993) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128723)

Your sig is right on.
Why is four hours a huge deal? I've waited longer than that due to weather, airlines overbooking, and other reasons. As long as they treated him decently for the four hours this should not be a big issue.

Re:just doing their job (2, Insightful)

Blahgerton (1083623) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129777)

<quote><p>I've waited longer than that due to weather...</p></quote>

I don't mind waiting for weather, which no one can control. I do mind waiting for security theatrics, which the government can control.

Re:just doing their job (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129971)

I doubt they held the plane for him; they might not even be willing to buy him a ticket on the next one.

Re:just doing their job (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28130025)

Hell, I wait longer than four hours to receive medical care at my typical ER.

Re:just doing their job (2, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129007)

Why think when you can follow protocol?

These are low-wage worker bees. The one thing they know for sure is that they won't get into trouble if they follow protocol. Do you really expect them to think? I'm not saying I like the result, but it's clear to me that if a TSA worker has a choice between your discomfort resulting from following protocol, and his if he breaks protocol and the outcome catches somebody's attention, he'll stick with protocol every time.

Re:just doing their job (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129279)

Why get paid when you can think?

I'm guessing that you've never had the fun of working a menial job.

Re:just doing their job (5, Insightful)

darthwader (130012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129917)

Why not do both? Protocol is: get fingerprint. If you cannot get a fingerprint, then you should use your discretion and initiative, e.g.:
- carefully and thoroughly interview the visitor.
- understand and verify the person's reason for not having a fingerprint.
- understand why the person is visiting the country.
- determine whether this person is likely to be a risk or not.
- decide if the person should be allowed into the country despite the lack of fingerprints.

If the border guards didn't want to think, they would have just deported him right away. They were willing to think. They did think. They interviewed him, thought about what he said,possibly spent some time verifying what he said, maybe consulted other people, and in the end they decided he was an acceptable risk. The process took 4 hours. It seems reasonable to me.

I think this shows a system working perfectly. The normal case (over 99% of the time, I would guess) is a few seconds for a fingerprint. The exceptions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with a thorough interview and careful consideration (not a stupid snap judgment).

Re:just doing their job (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129973)

Simply because they're not paid to think. They're drones. If they started showing signs of unique thought and it turned out to be 'the wrong thing', then they'd be out of a job, replaced by another drone. Following protocol is greater assurance of continued employment.

Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28127929)

Sorry for the off topic post does anyone else get this when clicking "Read more" on every article?

Connection Interrupted
The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.
The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again.

Re:Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128475)

I did until I told noscript to allow "fsdn.com".

Re:Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129053)

It seems to be related to using NoScript and not allowing fsdn.com

Can't be the first (3, Interesting)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127945)

How does someone with their extremities amputated get through an airport?

Re:Can't be the first (5, Funny)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127981)

probably a wheelchair

Re:Can't be the first (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128209)

we have schäuble in germany. that is proof you can wreak havoc in a weelchair. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%C3%A4uble#Criticism [wikipedia.org]

oh my. i shouldn't have said tha ... NO CARRIER.

Re:Can't be the first (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128557)

> Subsequently, Sch&#228;uble suggested to change Bundesrat's voting procedures to discount abstention votes from the total

Wow...

> Sch&#228;uble was the target of an assassination attempt by Dieter Kaufmann,[11] who fired three shots at Sch&#228;uble after an election campaign event in Oppenau, injuring a bodyguard and Sch&#228;uble's spinal cord and face severely. Sch&#228;uble has been paralysed and confined to a wheelchair ever since. The assassin was declared mentally ill by the judges and committed to a clinic because of psychoneurosis.

If Schauble keeps doing stuff like that "changing vote procedures" thing, people might start to think the Kaufmann wasn't so mentally ill after all...

Re:Can't be the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128657)

In Germany, it's unconstitutional to literally put someone behind bars for life as punishment, without the possibility of parole. When you're considered mentally ill, this isn't true, though; you can be held for as long as you're deemed to still be a threat.

Still wondering why the would-be assassin of a high-ranking politician was declared mentally ill?

Re:Can't be the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128241)

No wheelchair? Clever dick..

Re:Can't be the first (2, Insightful)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128709)

probably a wheelchair

Well yeah. and the wheelchair doesn't go through x-ray nor does the person in it, plus you don't queue for security -- probably the quickest/easiest way to get airside short of wearing a police uniform.

Re:Can't be the first (1)

rnelsonee (98732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129505)

When I lose my legs, I need to go to your airport. I've seen wheelchaired persons wait in line, and then be forced to get out of their wheelchair while TSA agents flipped the thing upside down to look at it, and then the person *walked* through the X-ray machine.

Obviously, this wouldn't be the case with a double amputee, but I think if you can walk, even a little bit, the "I'm going in a wheelchair" scheme won't save you any time...

Re:Can't be the first (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127985)

Grease up and slide through the air vents?

Re:Can't be the first (4, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128085)

I had a friend in high school whose family owned a catfish restaurant. He had been helping out at the restaurant for many years and by the time he was 17-18 had no discernible fingerprints either. It most certainly cannot be the first case where someone passed through without fingerprints. It is news because there was a single idiot working at that location and he couldn't be bothered to actually do any critical reasoning.

Re:Can't be the first (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129135)

Please excuse my ignorance-
    How does working in a catfish restaurant destroy once fingerprints?

Re:Can't be the first (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129185)

Catfish are toxic. Apparently they have such toxicity that they burn of your fingerprints if you handle enough of them.

Re:Can't be the first (2, Informative)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129369)

Fried catfish. His years of being burned by the oil had burned away the layer of skin responsible for fingerprints and built up scar tissue in its place. If you looked there were still fingerprint patterns; they just didn't form the typical ridges used for fingerprinting or leaving fingerprints.

Re:Can't be the first (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129457)

And here, ladies and gentleman, is a person that's NEVER done a fish fry or turkey deep fry.

Here sir, let me put your fingers NEAR this FOUR HUNDRED DEGREE HOT OIL.

Sorry if you get any spatters on yourself or if you burn yourself touching the frying basket where you shouldn't.

Re:Can't be the first (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128381)

How does someone with their extremities amputated get through an airport?

There's probably some procedure in place for people without fingers. However, the security droids' gears ground to a halt when confronted by a person with fingers but without fingerPRINTs. Didn't compute, so something shorted out and the error trapping routine kicked in. Sadly, the error trapping routine consists entirely of "ZOMG! PROBABLE TERRORIST!"

Re:Can't be the first (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129169)

The man was held for four hours to verify he wasn't a security threat, the excuse he gave wasn't listed in the product packaging for the drug he was taking and the report of this incident suggests that a letter from his doctors which he didn't have would have been enough to alleviate the problem when traveling to the US.

I see no mention outside of his detainment and the verification of his situation that he was treated badly or disrespectful in any way. Or is your "ZOMG! PROBABLE TERRORIST!" comment code for your belief that any foreign national who appears to be hiding his identity should be allowed into the country without questions? I mean seriously, the only thing that makes this a somewhat news worthy incident is that it was caused by a cancer drug that didn't list the problem on it's package labeling and no one thought of a doctors letter until after the fact.

Best country in the world (2, Insightful)

mofag (709856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28127971)

I always feel so welcome entering the US :)

Seriously though, how often do border guards ever catch anyone? All that frisking and undressing and do they EVER catch anyone? I feel certain that if they ever did, it would be all over the media. As evidenced here, this pointless pompous nonsense reaches the pinacle of its expression on the way into the US.

Re:Best country in the world (2, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128033)

Yes, they catch shampoo smugglers all the time.

Re:Best country in the world (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128247)

Not the same thing, but there _were_ those "mental giants" that recently tried to blow up a temple in NYC, and shoot down a military plane with a rocket launcher. Thing is, these geniuses didn't realize that they were being scammed by the Feds the entire time: the "C4" wasn't real, nor was the "rocket."

Ok, they had intent, and their motive was certainly questionable. But their means were non-existent, and they weren't even smart enough to realize that. At best, these punks should be called "unsocial retards," because they don't quite reach the bar for serious criminals.

Didn't matter: the papers were all full of chest pounding Feds congratulating themselves on catching these "terrorists."

Re:Best country in the world (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128569)

Sure, they were dumb. Most criminals are. Most terrorists aren't exactly the sharpest marbles in the sack, either. How dumb do you have to be for someone to convince you that blowing yourself up or flying an airplane into a building is a good idea and will help you achieve your goals?

However, they only failed because the supplier they found was an undercover Fed rather than someone who would supply actual weapons. As for reality, the rocket was real; it was just disarmed. As for the C-4, it's probably possible to supply fake C-4 that behaves just like the real thing except it won't actually explode. It's not surprising that they didn't test the stuff; they had no reason to, believing it to be authentic, and testing C-4 is likely to attract a lot of attention.

The bottom line is, they *are* terrorists. They did have a concrete plan to carry out attacks. They attempted to carry out that plan. They were caught by good undercover police work. To try and say they aren't terrorists because they were arrested before they could blow anything up is like trying to say somebody isn't a drug dealer because he gets arrested after selling to a narc.

Re:Best country in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129071)

You, sir, are a fucking idiot. Fortunately for you, Federal authorities will continue their work so fools like you can continue to keep bitching about how pointless their work is.

Re:Best country in the world (4, Insightful)

joebok (457904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128249)

Actually, yes:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2001/1125/cover.html [nwsource.com]

An alert border guard caught a guy trying to get across the border with a bunch of bomb stuff. This case with the finger prints doesn't sound like a case of anybody being "alert" - but for my money, training people to detect and investigate is far better than the ridiculous security theater we usually see - taking off shoes and having jars of plum jam confiscated.

Re:Best country in the world (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129329)

What do you want them to do? We had a guy who hid a big enough bomb in his shoes to (probably) take a plane down. And we had a full-blown plot to sneak binary explosives on in shampoo bottles. What's your solution to stopping those kinds of attacks without bothering anybody's plum jam?

if I had cancer, I'd want to be held too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28127993)

if I had cancer, I'd like a hug and someone to hold me also

Technology-determined guilt or innocence (5, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128007)

When I was getting my CCW permit, which requires fingerprinting, there was an old man there. The police fingerprinters were failing to get fingerprints from him, I assumed because of his old wrinkled skin. Since he legally cannot get a CCW permit without fingerprints on file, he was basically being discriminated against on the basis that the fancy fingerprinting machine that the police station bought happened to not do the correct song and dance when he put his fingers on it.

It's similar to the situation with breathalyzers where if the machine beeps or not can be the difference between you going to jail or driving home. Our judges have been replaced by robotic imposters, and I imagine it will get worse in the future.

That's Nothin' (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128015)

Once I saw this movie, and some policemen caught Santa Claus, and he had snowflake fingerprints. Seriously. You should see it.

Re:That's Nothin' (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128047)

Was that the one with Tim Allen?

Re:That's Nothin' (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128193)

I don't think so. It was a long time ago, when I was a kid, so I don't remember it. Otherwise I would have linked to it. Maybe the Tim Allen one does it too, but then they are copying someone else.

Re:That's Nothin' (3, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128423)

Heaven help me for knowing this, but I'm pretty sure it was Ernest Saves Christmas.

Re:That's Nothin' (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128351)

Saw it last week. The movie is Ernest Saves Christmas [imdb.com] .

Re:That's Nothin' (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128797)

Is it possible to get surgery or laser-work which just replaces your fingerprints with abusive messages directed towards anyone scanning them?

Re:That's Nothin' (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129227)

yes

Re:That's Nothin' (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129263)

Laser? Just get a razor blade.

Re:That's Nothin' (0, Redundant)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129667)

Nah. Got to be lasers. Preferably attached to the head of a freakin' shark.

Headline on Fox News tonight: (5, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128035)

Terrible New Terrorism Drug Helps Terrorists Evade Identification And Cause More Terrible Terror.

Re:Headline on Fox News tonight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128479)

Sounds like MSNBC to me.

Re:Headline on Fox News tonight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129029)

Yeah, you are probably right. Not enough FUD in there to qualify for fox news

Re:Headline on Fox News tonight: (0, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128759)

> Terrible New Terrorism Drug Helps Terrorists Evade Identification And Cause More Terrible Terror.

I know that stuff like the above passes for fall down funny amongst the Daily Show/Colbert/Kos set but really, you guys need to stop hitting the bong so hard it fries yer brains out.

Just how common do you thing people with no fingerprints are? Don't you WANT something that odd to raise a red flag? If this sort of thing isn't supposed to raise a flag, just what in your bizarro world would?

While TFA says the Dr. recommends patients carry a letter explaining this odd side effect it doesn't make clear whether the patient in question was carrying such documentation or even if it was this incident that lead to the recommendation. As someone who has who has made a habit of reading news copy with a jaundiced eye, especially Reuters, one gets the impression this omission and the misleading way the article was written was deliberate.

Re:Headline on Fox News tonight: (1)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129167)

They are Tyrannosauruses and we must listen to their phone calls!

some people just don't have fingerprints (5, Interesting)

alphaFlight (26589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128117)

My wife had to get a special exemption to sit for the bar exam because the state police couldn't take her fingerprints, which were necessary for conducting the required criminal background check. She has no idea why her fingerprints are virtually nonexistent.

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (2, Informative)

joyfeather (1167073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128225)

I knew an guy who had worked with air conditioners for years- he couldn't be fingerprinted either, and that was with the old style ink method. The chemicals he worked with burned off the surface of the skin on his fingers.

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128979)

My wife worked at a biotech company. She had to wash her hands constantly for her job, and her fingerprints just washed off eventually.... But their security system to gain access to the building involved a fingerprint scanner and PIN.

She had to get a security exception to get into the building every single day.

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129801)

Couldn't she get a dongle with an artificial fingerprint? I mean it's less secure, sure, but then what's to stop anyone from chopping off a finger to get in?

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (5, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129191)

She secretly works for the MIB. They remove your fingerprints when they join. Every time you discover this, however, she gets you with her little memory-zapper-thingy.

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129311)

Maybe you should stop her shoving her fingers up your ass?

Re:some people just don't have fingerprints (1)

nasor (690345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129363)

So did they subject your wife to some sort of extraordinary, non-fingerprint-related background check? Or do they just shrug and exempt people from the requirement if the person doesn't have fingerprints?

Obviously (5, Funny)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128145)

We must ban anti-cancer drugs. The terrorists might use them. Terrorists could hurt children. Think of the children!

4 hours? (2, Insightful)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128279)

As if the prints would return this quick?
How stupid can you be if such a specific case takes 4 hours?
DHS senior personnel thinks that they NEED fingerprints to let someone enter? [fascist state proof #1]
DHS is unsure if they can send him back because there are no prints.
[cluelessness proof #1] Etc.
Of course the man didn't tell them he was taking medicine etc.

Re:4 hours? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128415)

As if the prints would return this quick?

I don't know, man. On CSI they always have a match within about 12 seconds!

Well (0)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128293)

What choice do they have? It could take 4hrs to verify someone is on such a drug. It ended well so this is hardly a controversy.

Re:Well (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128727)

What choice do they have?

What part of flying on an airplane requires that you have fingerprints?

Re:Well (1)

shabble (90296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128975)

What choice do they have?

What part of flying on an airplane requires that you have fingerprints?

I dunno. In the past 7 years, I've flown to around 14 different countries from South America, Africa to the Middle and Far East (clearly not at the same time,) and not once have I ever had my fingerprints taken as part of the process.

Re:Well (3, Informative)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128841)

What choice do they have? It could take 4hrs to verify someone is on such a drug. It ended well so this is hardly a controversy.

How many flights have you arrived for where a 4-hour delay wouldn't have caused huge problems for you?

Most airlines I know, you lose your flight if you don't get through security on time, and if you can't pay for a much more expensive ticket on the next flight then you might lose your entire holiday

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128869)

It ended well so this is hardly a controversy.

Jav, Why don't you contract cancer and then travel overseas to visit relatives perhaps one last time and then spend 4 hours out of your precious few at the airport while some nitwit scrutinizes you to no end?!? Then come back here and tell us "it ended well."

The Penguin (not the Linux kind) tried this (5, Funny)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128383)

In an episode of the original Adam West "Batman" series, the caped crusader was performing a high-tech fingerprint scan on all the citizens leaving some sort of event. Along comes a long-nosed fellow -- obviously The Penguin, since his disguise was about as effective as Superman's "Clark Kent" cover. Batman attempts the fingerprint scan, but the man has no fingerprints.

"Holy Nonsequitur, Batman!" the intrepid Robin exclaims, "it's plastic!"

"Yes, I believe that's what the surgeon used," replies the ersatz innocent civilian.

Batman lets him go, but confides to Robin that he knows it's the Penguin -- but now that the dastardly enemy thinks he's slipped the trap, he will now lead them to the bad guys' secret lair.

Obviously, the TSA should have done the same with this guy. Then, they could have found the entire Al Qaida leadership, probably meeting in a rakishly tilted room, behind the one-way mirror in a seedy magic shop.

4 hours (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128435)

That's 4 hours of his life he will never get back, and that's saying something for a cancer patient.

This is appalling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128439)

Having just lost my father to pancreatic cancer, and seeing him suffer so much from the chemo and other drugs he was taking, I can't believe that something like this would happen in an airport. It's hard enough having to deal with the cancer and the side effects of the treatement without having getting held at an airport because of your side effects! Airports might want to start treating their customers like HUMAN beings.

Cancer Drugs? Not for him! (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128499)

He should have said that the drugs were for his Goat!

Where does that image come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128509)

Heck, where does the fingerprint image come from? I am pretty sure it was an image from the results section of my master dissertation!! I was not aware that somebody beyond me read it, much less one of the images would end in Slashdot!!

Bunch of idiots! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28128529)

A fingerprint is an image of the fingers (duh!).

If the authorities don't like this guy's fingers and the images of his fingers, the problem is with the authorities.

The real problem is that a person's fingerprints is not a definitive unique permanent identifier, even though most people treat them that way.

Cancer Patient might be an alien... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128627)

Reminds me of an old episode of Battlestar Galactica 1980 [wikipedia.org] where the young heroes got busted by the sheriff and accused of filing away their fingerprints to avoid identification. The flying motorcycles were cool.

Re:Cancer Patient might be an alien... (2, Insightful)

vastabo (530415) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129729)

No. No, they weren't.

Re:Cancer Patient might be an alien... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129831)

Just when you think you've got that atrocity erased from your mind...

Been there, done that... (5, Informative)

Calibax (151875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128655)

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005, and after surgery I did the chemotherapy thing. One of my drugs was Xeloda, which is the marketing name for capecitabine, the drug this guy is taking.

The problem mentioned in TFA is Hand-Foot Syndrome (HFS) or palmer-palmer erythrodysesthesia. Capecitabine causes redness, swelling, a rash, and burning pain in the hands and feet - and sometimes elsewhere such as joints and genitals. In bad cases the skin peels and you get blisters, ulcers and sores in the affected areas. This is because some of the drug leaks out of the capillaries and damages the surrounding tissues, and you have a lot of capillaries close to the surface in the hands and feet.

There are drugs (Vitamin B6, corticosteroids, dimethyl sulfoxide) that can help sometimes - but they didn't for me. Walking became extremely painful, and my hands were constantly hot and painful, although I didn't lose my fingerprints as far as I know. Everything returned to normal some months after chemotherapy completed.

I really sympathize with this guy. Dealing with immigration headaches while having bad hand-foot syndrome would have been a total hassle for me. Even standing up for a few minutes was torture.

Re:Been there, done that... (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129143)

Sorry to hear that you had health issues :( I hope you are okay now.

Invasive procedure (1)

StratumZer0 (1312191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128669)

When did immigration started fingerprinting visitors in to the US? This person was "visiting relatives" and wouldn't need a green card or work visa, why were they fingerprinting him? Oh, yeah! because they can (invade our privacy).

Re:Invasive procedure (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129855)

When did immigration started fingerprinting visitors in to the US? This person was "visiting relatives" and wouldn't need a green card or work visa, why were they fingerprinting him? Oh, yeah! because they can (invade our privacy).

They started fingerprinting a few years back. EVERYONE is now fingerprinted at the US border, visa or no visa, with a few exceptions:

- US citizens aren't fingerprinted
- Canadian citizens aren't fingerprinted
- I don't know about diplomats, presumably not

Everyone else gets fingerprinted. Don't like it? Then don't visit the USA.

Incidentally, travel & tourism to the US has gone down recently. Could be the recession...

Do they fingerprint everyone?! (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128765)

... entering the country. What nonsense!

Re:Do they fingerprint everyone?! (3, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28130015)

Fingerprint and photograph, yes -- with a few exceptions. The big one is that (most) Canadian citizens are exempt. As well, individuals younger than 14 or older than 79 can skip the ten card and mugshot.

You get the invasion of privacy even if you're just passing through a U.S. airport to make a connection to another country.

This is utterly non-news! (2, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28128917)

From a medical and oncological perspective, this is very interesting stuff.

From a DHS/security/evil overlord angle, it's absolutely nothing at all.

The guy was screened routinely. He failed the screening for an extraordinary reason, and was kept for four measly hours, until they could parse and process the exception.

That's it. They didn't strip-search him, they didn't tase him, they didn't abuse him or violate his rights. They came across an exception, dealt with it, and moved on.

Or would you rather spend all day making up SHOCKING headlines for articles like, "Police do their job. Bring in suspect for questioning, and then release him after innocence proven."

Re:This is utterly non-news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28129435)

they didn't abuse him or violate his rights.

They detained him without cause. He had done nothing wrong. He was held because they couldn't deal with him efficiently.

They [airport security] have a duty to process travelers efficiently. If their methods cannot do that, then there is an argument to be made that they were negligent in their duty. If there was a loss of money involved, he would probably have grounds for a lawsuit.

Eradication of fingerprints? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129259)

Usually, you don't want to take anticancer drugs unless you have cancer.

If you want to get rid of your fingerprints, there's always pineapple juice. Much less poisonous.

My sister was held back too! (5, Interesting)

KreAture (105311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28129651)

My sister has Nethertons Syndrome. It's relevant implication for this case is that her skin is replaced faster than normal. This causes her to have weak if any fingerprints.

When visiting Florida for christmas last year my entire family was held back for about half an hour. Only after the "security person" had consulted his superior, and that superior had consulted yet another superior, were this 16 year old obvious thread to national security allowed to pass into America. They also tried to wipe her fingertips with alcohol. Very pleasant on what you can compare to a first to second degree burn.

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