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US Visitor Fingerprints To Be (Perhaps) Stored by FBI

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the probably-not-at-this-point dept.

United States 503

stair69 writes "Since 2004 many visitors to the United States have had 2 fingerprints taken under the US-VISIT scheme. Now there are new plans to extend this scheme — under the proposal all 10 fingerprints will be taken, and they will be stored permanently on the FBI's criminal fingerprint database. The fingerprints will also be made available to police forces in other countries. The scheme is due to be introduced by the end of 2008, but it will be trialled in 10 of the bigger airports initially." Of course, it is worth pointing out that given the recent change in Congress, I suspect that a number of countries will get a "bye" on this round,

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Nothing for me to worry about (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17509676)

I am a US citizen.

(or am I just fooling myself)

Fricken scary.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (3, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509702)

I thought you'd've realised by now that the US has no citizens, only consumers.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (1, Interesting)

TigerPlish (174064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509800)

I thought you'd've realised by now that the US has no citizens, only consumers.


You mean the world-at-large, yes? I think England pioneered consumerism while the US was still stealing from the natives and making the push Westward.

Don't blame us, in other words.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509922)

Now, now, that's not true. There are indeed US citizens. All you need is enough money and you're still treated fairly.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510166)

Nonsense. Some of us are the consumed.

KFG

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17509956)

Fricken scary.

FWIW, I don't really see fingerprints as "my privacy". You leave the damned things everywhere, your fingerprints are roughly equivalent to your face, its a personally identifiable image. So now we are asking guests of this country if we can take a different type of picture.

I'm more concerned about the people who wish to skulk around society without being seen or leaving footprint. I don't see this as impacting free speech/press/right to protest/etc. Which would make me concerned.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510290)

FWIW, I don't really see fingerprints as "my privacy". You leave the damned things everywhere, your fingerprints are roughly equivalent to your face, its a personally identifiable image. So now we are asking guests of this country if we can take a different type of picture.

You leave DNA everywhere too. Every time you shed a hair, every time you blow your nose, every time you spit, sneeze, sweat or pick your nose. Your garbage bags waiting out by the curb are probably full of DNA that you have "discarded" and could in theory be taken by the police. Does this mean the Government should build a DNA database of all citizens -- even those who haven't been convicted of anything?

Are common law protections against unreasonable search and innocent until proven guilty going to become obsolete in the face of modern technology? I for one do not welcome our CSI overlords.....

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510268)

You should be. Sadly, we will have many bush lakeys who are going to be saying that this is nothing to worry about. Yet, for this and IDs to work on aliens AND visitors, then all citizens will have to have the same. As it is, the FBI now has access to all the cameras and recordings from traffic. In addition, all major hotels and car rentals have been required to make available due to USAPATRIOT act. All in all, the GOV is now able to track just about anybody except for a USA citizen. And that was to come in 1 to 2 years. Thank God that the dems got the majority.

Re:Nothing for me to worry about (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510304)

> I am a US citizen

Well, nothing to be proud about and, IMHO, you should be ashamed. Good that I am _not_ a US citizen and have sworn not to travel to the US anymore because of the bad politics. Taking my fingerprints does _not_ make your or my country more secure and I lose my privacy. Why do I have to prove my innocence? Why do I need to give up my privacy? Well, you US folks are in the far state of creating a police state and are apparently not seeing it happening. You don't seem to know your rights were taken away until you need them. Sorry guys, but you lose in the long run.

And, the terrorists _have_ won. They have all the publicity and you have lost your freedoms. Poor sods you are.

Hilarious (3, Interesting)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509696)

I guess they just haven't learned the difference between quantity of information, and its overall quality. They're dealing with a very low signal-to-noise ratio when 'plans' like this are implemented, and that in itself will become a major impediment to dealing with any true threats. I can't help but wonder if this is coming from the Democrats or the Republicans. If it's the Dems, I'm thoroughly disappointed - I thought the idea was to *reverse* the damage done by the Republican party, not add to it.

Re:Hilarious (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509820)

Well, the signal:noise ratio is not really good (actually, it's frigging pointless in the first place, you will not reduce the number of crimes committed by a single digit number), but then again, computers can nowadays compare fingerprints with ease, so it's no big deal.

In fact this means that everyone who's ever flying has his prints taken. And that's the point behind it all. Not that the US become a safer place, but the part that this info will be shared with other countries does imply that other countries have a certain interest in the prints of their citizens.

I have the hunch that the next fashion fad for privacy concerned people will be gloves.

Re:Hilarious (2, Funny)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510442)

> I have the hunch that the next fashion fad for privacy concerned people will be gloves.

Surely, a) your sweat in the golve can combust, and b) your fingers are then a concealed weapon. Conclusion: gloves are for terrorists only and are to be banned.

Go figure...

Re:Hilarious (5, Funny)

shaneh0 (624603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510548)

"computers can nowadays compare fingerprints with ease"

Yes, but since it has to display the photo of the person in order to properly do the print match, won't we get to a point where we can't go any faster? I mean, the human eye is only so fast. The whole notion of finger-print matching just wouldn't feel right if you don't see 10,000 faces stream across the screen before finally finding the match.

Re:Hilarious (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509850)

. . .that in itself will become a major impediment to dealing with any true threats.

This has nothing to do with "true threats" as you understand the term. Nothing. At all.

They only appear clueless when they succeed in their misdirection of your attention. The fuckers know exactly what they are doing.

KFG

Re:Hilarious (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509884)

If it's the Dems, I'm thoroughly disappointed - I thought the idea was to *reverse* the damage done by the Republican party, not add to it.

Well, yes, but they aren't simply going to undo everything, as National Security is still a major issue that the Dems cannot afford to appear weak on. They won largely because the Reps were doing such a bad job of actually executing on Security. The degree to which the objections both of the Dems and the voters were based on the Reps leading us towards a police state is debateable but I'd say limited, especially among the elected officials. The "damage" is stupid, failed policies, not evil anti-Democratic policies. So the Dems still want to have an effective and most likely invasive National Security policy, and the question is: Are they in fact any smarter than the Reps in terms of making an actual effective working policy?

My educated guess: No.

Re:Hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510462)

Well, yes, but they aren't simply going to undo everything, as National Security is still a major issue that the Dems cannot afford to appear weak on. They won largely because the Reps were doing such a bad job of actually executing on Security. The degree to which the objections both of the Dems and the voters were based on the Reps leading us towards a police state is debateable but I'd say limited, especially among the elected officials.

Probably the easiest way to improve the National Security of the US would be to round up any members of the US Government who are more concerned about the interests of a foreign country than the US... It makes something of a nonsense of any idea of national security when members of the US Government openly (and in defiance of US law) any foreign country.
It might not be a bad idea to have a rule along the lines that any "Congresscritter" must only be a citizen of the US...

Re:Hilarious (0, Troll)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510562)

Perhaps your guess is correct, but the very fact that they aren't led by a guy with worrying religious inspired idea's is an improvement at least.

Re:Hilarious (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510350)

Well, when some bozo blows up a building and leaves fingerprints, they'll be able to find out his passport #! Yay!

Home of the free... (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509712)

Welcome to the home of the suspected criminals, land of the bold (if they dare to speak up).

How does it feel being considered a criminal by default? Heck, in my day job I teach people to treat every input with suspicion and every unknown as if it were malicious, but at least I'm speaking about data, not humans!

If you lived in the UK (2, Interesting)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509932)

They'd be trying to force ID cards on the whole population, and part of the information they collect for your ID cards are you fingerprints that are then passed on to the police. (They also fingerprint kids in school here, and they would have to be passed onto the police too).

Think yourself lucky you got the Bush part of the Blair Bush combo.

Re:If you lived in the UK (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510644)

They'd be trying to force ID cards on the whole population, and part of the information they collect for your ID cards are you fingerprints that are then passed on to the police. (They also fingerprint kids in school here, and they would have to be passed onto the police too).

Uh, I don't know what planet you're living on, but the USA on my planet has already been doing all of these things for literally years. You can't do shit without a birth certificate, driver's license, and social security card (or the immigrant equivalent of some of these things) so effectively we've already been forced to have them. You are required to carry ID on you at all times (ostensibly for identification of your body if you die or something) even though you supposedly cannot be arrested for failing to provide ID - but they can haul you in if you don't have ID if you're even a passenger in a car.

I got fingerprinted in school, as did basically all of my classmates. My mom thought she was doing me a favor.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510032)

rm -f-r UID822

KFG

Re:Home of the free... (-1, Troll)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510154)

Welcome to the home of the suspected criminals, land of the bold (if they dare to speak up).

While I am 100% against fingerprinting CITIZENS of this country, I couldn't give a shit less if someone from outside of the US is fingerprinted. It's their choice to travel to the US and cross our borders. I would certainly avoid leaving the US to travel to another country that wanted to fingerprint me on arrival.

Re:Home of the free... (4, Insightful)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510208)

Just pray that you never have a job that actually requires you to travel anywhere. Actually it's already affecting US business and many companies are looking elsewhere. When you're an isolated third world country that no one visits and everyone trades else where will you still want to stay at home?

Re:Home of the free... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510272)

When you're an isolated third world country that no one visits and everyone trades else where will you still want to stay at home?

Nah, we have 300 million people, a lot of land, and a lot of technological expertise. I suspect that we can stand on our own if we really had to. Manufacturing can be a *hell* of a lot more automated than it is now, and ultimately, workers will realize that automation creates domestic jobs rather than taking them away.

-b.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510590)

Hm... Let's see, your country doesn't have enough oil, titan, steel, aluminum, electronic factories, etc. to be self-sufficient.

USSR tried to do that trick once - isolate itself from another countries. This attempt failed miserably.

Re:Home of the free... (2, Interesting)

YourMoneyOrYourDuck (1033800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510598)

This kind of isolationist thinking completely fails to grasp the realities of what your national debt means. A dollar is securitised debt - you want to "go it alone", nobody wants that debt. The dollar then collapses on the currency markets. And then you can't buy the oil you need to function. And you haven't got enough oil to drill enough wells either.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510668)

300 million. Not bad but no where near, China, India or even the EU. I can tell from your reply you've never done economics. In the end growth comes from exports being greater than imports and use of resources. When your resources run out and when no one wants to buy from you your economy will collapse.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510220)

I couldn't give a shit less if someone from outside of the US is fingerprinted
...and people wonder why the Iraqis don't appreciate the bold work being done on their behalf.

Re:Home of the free... (5, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510464)

While I am 100% against fingerprinting CITIZENS of this country, I couldn't give a shit less if someone from outside of the US is fingerprinted. It's their choice to travel to the US and cross our borders.
You must work for the US tourist industry.

I always love the idea that many USians think basic human rights so important that only US citizens deserve them. Gitmo Logic.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510502)

Sure, and I'll send a letter to my deputy in parliament and start campaign to jail all incoming Americans visiting my country. You need to do a business meeting? Tough luck. Try to meet in another country then.

Re:Home of the free... (1)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510160)


How does it feel?

Well, entry into the US has always been unpleasant. You get large number of questions, the customs people tend to be fairly aggressive and, in recent years, the photography and fingerprints are making the situation worse. I'd much rather go to Canada or Australia (well or the EU, but as I am an EU citizen, I guess this is quite different).

However, the main feature of how it feels after 8 hours on a plane is boring and irritating. You just want to get out of the airport, out of conditioned air and away from airline food. You don't want to be standing in a long queue, behind the three booths for international travelers, while customs guards sit picking their teeth in the 10 empty US-only channels. 10 fingerprints is only going to make this worse.

Phil

Re:Home of the free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510258)

Well, if they at least have the digital finger print scanners that do a hand at a time, it can go quickly. If they did it right, they could set up the photo and the print scan to happen at the same time... Not that I really agree with having to go through all that. But since travel has become so easy, and we have people trying to bring more and more violence into the US, it makes sense to require this, though I do have to agree that it's not very friendly...

Re:Home of the free... (1)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510294)

You might want to reconsider Canada. I went there once, only to receive a difficult time from the customs agents. Upon discussing it with the locals, I was told not to worry. Customs treats the locals just as badly.

-Loyal

number to describe this move (5, Insightful)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509716)

1984

Re:number to describe this move (1)

blindbug (979761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509904)

I can see a use for this in 2027.

(Obligatory 'Children of Men' reference)

CAPTCHA: TRANSIT

I don't worry (-1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509726)

My fingerprints are in at least one government database (for non-criminal reasons). It doesn't bother me.

When I decide to rob banks or kill people, then I'll be worried.

You don't have to be guilty. (4, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509978)

When I decide to rob banks or kill people, then I'll be worried.
Be worried. [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't worry (5, Insightful)

lpoulsen (148228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510034)

> My fingerprints are in at least one government database
> (for non-criminal reasons). It doesn't bother me.
> When I decide to rob banks or kill people, then I'll be worried.

Remember that fingerprints in the database are stored as encoded strings describing the location of some branching points in the ridge patterns. Essentially a hash function.

Note that the data on which the hash is constructed is subject to scaling and rotation of the captured image. Note that selection of the points is hard in some people's patterns (because there may be unusually many branch points.

Now note that we are addding a very large amount of new prints to be processed, of which a much lower proportion will ever be needed than in the previous population of the database. There will be extreme pressure to do this quickly and cheaply with less-skilled operators. This will lead to many false matches.

We already have many cases of false matches leading to arrest of innocent people when fingerprint data is shared between FBI and Interpol (made worse by some differences in technical standards between different police organizations. And because most of the victims of these false positives will not be US voters, fixing the problems will not be a high priority.

If you really believe that mass processing of huge fingerprint databases is feasible with acceptably low error rates, you should advocate that a full set of prints for the FBI database should be taken with every US driver's license application. This would have enormous benefits if every fingerprint found at a crime scene could easily be matched. By raising the chance of solving crimes by an order of magnitude, it would create an enormous incentive for people not to commit crimes. But I don't know anyone who trusts the system enough to want this to be done.

Re:I don't worry (1)

blindbug (979761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510042)

http://www.ccc.de/biometrie/fingerabdruck_kopieren .xml?language=en [www.ccc.de]

If you decide to speak out in the future about political indecencies and thousands of people have access to your fingerprint records with sufficient motives to quash your voice, then will you be worried?

Re:I don't worry (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510118)

From the article you linked: "In order to fake a fingerprint, one needs an original first."

- The database entry isn't an image of my finger print
- Anybody who wants to see what my fingerprint looks like can lift a print anywhere I've been

Re:I don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510246)

"- Anybody who wants to see what my fingerprint looks like can lift a print anywhere I've been"

Also true for your DNA, so putting that in a database is OK then?

Re:I don't worry (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510576)

Also true for your DNA, so putting that in a database is OK then?

Yes. And it is already (I was in the Air Force, they took blood for the express purpose of using it to identify me).

Re:I don't worry (0)

gaspants (1048504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510140)

Until.... one day you get in a taxi, your fingerprints are on the door handle, and the next ride the taxi driver picks up is a beautiful woman, he takes her to an old part of town and murders her then abandons the taxi claiming it to be stolen. Your prints are everywhere and you are suspect number one.

Under the US "guilty until you can prove you are innocent" policies you spend the next few days locked up, your house is searched, your computers confiscated and sent to the computer forensics labs, your photo is front page on all the papers, your house is shown online using Google maps and your family have no-where to live. Your business goes bust and even when they release you your reputation is destroyed. No one beleives you any more.... and worse case scenario... what if you dont have an aliby for that time and its a high profile murder and the mayor wants swift justice? This all happened recently in the UK and happens often in the US. Okay you may be innocent and never plan on commiting any crimes but you'd be naive to think that the above doesnt happen regularly to innocent people in the Big Brother countries such as the US and the UK!

Re:I don't worry (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510432)

It's worse than that. If that happens to me and I use a taxi and come up as a false positive, being a non US citizen and since the abolition of Habeus Corpus for non US citizens, I can be locked up and will have no right to defence at all.

Re:I don't worry (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510530)

so my prints, along with the last 20 fares, are on the door handle... what about the steering wheel, gear selector etc? what about evidence on the victims body? murder weapon etc? sorry, you arent going to be put in jail for murder on fingerprint evidence alone. even a free lawyer could defend that case.

Re:I don't worry (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510230)

Yes my fingerprints are also in a U.S. government database (also for non-criminal reasons). It was a justifiable reason so it didn't bother me. But why is it worrisome in general to have our data in so many databases? Because:

-Abuse of system. The data is there, so someone could abuse it and run checks they are not supposed to.

-False positives. Once you're in the system, you're a candidate for showing up in some searches, even if you're not actually the match.

-Privacy. It's an intangible thing, but somehow knowing that information on you is being recorded is just uncomfortable and an invasion of your freedoms.

Of course we understand that for some reasons we need to have these databases anyway. It seems reasonable that a convicted criminal's prints should be put in a database. Also for high security situations it's a necessary safeguard.

However everytime we expand these databases without a highly justifiable reason, we are infringing on the privacy and liberty of people (even if just a little bit) and open ourselves to potential problems. The "if you have nothing to hide" argument doesn't work. After all, we all have things to "hide", but if they are not illegal then the government should stay out.

Just another reason... (5, Interesting)

AVee (557523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509748)

...to never ever vistit the 'land of the free'. I wouldn't do it currently because of all 'security' measures allready in place. But it's reassuring to find out I was right about that.

Re:Just another reason... (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510514)

Indeed. Except I did recently visit the USA and it's pretty damn annoying to think where my fingerprints and x amount of other "items of information" are kept on some database available to the US government and whoever they choose to share it with. Seeing as I've never been charged or arrested for any crime even the British police don't have my fingerprints. Well, maybe they do now - I wouldn't be surprised if the information collected is being sold to various agencies by the Americans in the same way spammers sell databases of email addresses.

Re:Just another reason... (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510580)

Flamebait? Come on, mods! How bout this recent "incident": German businessman of Syrian descent ended up in a Las Vegas jail for two days -- apparently because he had the wrong stamps in his passport. [spiegel.de] Visiting the US has become an incalculable risk, so don't be surprised if people stay away. If you disagree with people stating those facts, you might as well reply to their posts instead of modding them down for stating the truth.

What the heck is that supposed to mean? (4, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509766)

Of course, it is worth pointing out that given the recent change in Congress, I suspect that a number of countries will get a "bye" on this round,

What the heck is that supposed to mean? What countries? And why? And, for that matter, how is congress going to get involved at that level of detail...especially since they're already claiming they can't even do anything to stop Bush from escalating the war, despite the fact that by most accounts they were elected to do just that?

Was part of this remark clipped off (note the trailing comma) or am I missing some interpretation that is less senseless than the obvious?

--MarkusQ

Re:What the heck is that supposed to mean? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510612)

Maybe s/he meant "Bye" as it is meant in Cricket [wikipedia.org] - it's when you score a run even when you don't hit the ball, similar to passed ball in baseball.

Oh come on, I'm just grasping at straws here.

Don't Come Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17509790)

I would never subject myself to this in your country, so please don't subject yourself to this in mine.

Don't count on the "recent change in Congress"... (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509814)

Fingerprint databases are a very useful crime-fighting tool. The only objection to fingerprinting everyone (somewhere in elementary school) is the indignity of (mis)treating every citizen as a (potential) criminal.

Americans, however, are surprisingly tolerant of the government-imposed indignities — judging, for example, by their willingness to stand barefeet and beltless (belt's buckles are often metallic, you see) on the dirty floor in front of the TSA officers... Removing your footwear for inspection used to be optional (you could elect to be searched instead), but is now required since no one was objecting — except for a few freaks, like yours truly.

Fingerprinting non-citizens will not even raise the proverbial eye-brow of the nation...

Re:Don't count on the "recent change in Congress". (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510000)

The only objection to fingerprinting everyone (somewhere in elementary school) is the indignity of (mis)treating every citizen as a (potential) criminal.

But isn't everyone a "potential" criminal?

My only problem with fingerprinting is the chance that I will get ink on my shirt. As long as it applies to everyone, there really shouldn't be an indignity from this, but I understand how some can feel dirty after going through airport security. It may also help if the fingerprint database is not referred to as a "criminal database". I don't know if it was named that by the article or the FBI itself.

Re:Don't count on the "recent change in Congress". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510228)

My only problem with fingerprinting is the chance that I will get ink on my shirt. As long as it applies to everyone, there really shouldn't be an indignity from this...


We have every right to be indignant! These types of actions are actions taken by non-free governments. Our government's main role is to preserve our rights, not catch criminals. While these are not mutually exclusive concepts, it hardly makes sense to encroach on our rights in order to protect our rights.

It is not our job to make the government's job easier, so why should I give up my privacy? As a non-criminal citizen, the government has no business copying my fingerprints. There is actually a negative value in taking my prints for any legitimate use, since it will increase the noise in the database. (So really, we're giving up privacy for the illusion of safety. It doesn't take an economist to realize that's a bad trade.)

Re:Don't count on the "recent change in Congress". (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510344)

Fingerprinting non-citizens will not even raise the proverbial eye-brow of the nation...

As well it shouldn't. Before we let a random person into our country, we need to verify his identity to make sure he's not a criminal or terrorist. Biometrics are one way to do this since documents can and will be forged. There are a lot of people who hate us, perhaps justifiably. Given this, we need to protect ourselves. Border security is one of the least intrusive ways to do this compared to domestic spying and surveillance. Given a tight border, there'll be (in theory) much less of a need for Draconian domestic laws.

-b.

Re:Don't count on the "recent change in Congress". (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510614)

Fingerprinting non-citizens will not even raise the proverbial eye-brow of the nation...

And don't forget, it's only the terrorists who have anything to worry about, according to the article: 'We will have a world in which any terrorist who has ever been in a safe house or has ever been in a training camp is going to ask himself or herself this question: have I ever left a fingerprint anywhere?' Chertoff said.

After all, everyone who has ever been in a building or location that is later identified as a "safe house" or "training camp" by the utterly infalible authorities is obviously a terrorist, so what possible objection could there be?

Which Airports (2, Informative)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509818)

Anyone have a list of airports? I need to put them on my personal no-fly list, along with the airports participating in the "trusted passenger" trial (e.g., MCO).

Re:Which Airports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510634)

Washington DC. It's a disgrace

Whatnow? (2, Interesting)

Upaut (670171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509830)

Of course, it is worth pointing out that given the recent change in Congress, I suspect that a number of countries will get a "bye" on this round.

I was under the impression that the recent change in congress was motivated by the people of this fine nation tired of America breaking all the rules of decentcy, rights of the people, and other things of that nature... So how would some countries get a "bye"? What is a "bye"? Is it a general banning? If so, most Democratic Party methods of increasing money and lowering debt is raising tarrifs and increasing tourism... Banning the richest, although terrorist prone, nations is not something they would want to do.

Or is it that with the recent change in Congress, this bill will go "bye"? That America will no longer rubber-stamp a Big Brother nation into being...

What goes around comes around. (1)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509838)

I've heard stories of other countries fingerprinting Americans, and only Americans, upon entry.

It's almost like there are consequences to actions. Makes you wonder what they are gunna do about our little demolition derby in Iraq.

Re:What goes around comes around. (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509882)

My guess is that this is the return favor for the US. After all, I think it would be rather hard to get it past the constitution to fingerprint all US citizens. But, after all, the info is 'shared freely', so I take the prints of your subjects, you take those of mine, and everyone's happy.

Re:What goes around comes around. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510126)

My guess is that this is the return favor for the US. After all, I think it would be rather hard to get it past the constitution to fingerprint all US citizens. But, after all, the info is 'shared freely', so I take the prints of your subjects, you take those of mine, and everyone's happy.

I'm sure that's on the table, but in this case it was (is?) Brazil doing it as a political statement all the lines of what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

back at ya (5, Interesting)

tuxette (731067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509846)

I wonder how many other countries will follow suit, that is, fingerprint visitors from the US and store their fingerprints and personal data in their criminal database. Brasil already fingerprints and photographs US citizens (and only US citizens) visiting Brasil...

Re:back at ya (-1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509944)

Brasil already fingerprints and photographs US citizens (and only US citizens) visiting Brasil...

This last August they did not... An urban myth?

It makes no sense — except for the pride. An American visiting Brazil is far less likely to be a criminal, than a Brazilian visiting US... We go there as mostly as tourists (thus having money for leisure). Many of them come here for work (in need of money)...

Re:back at ya (2, Insightful)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510242)

An American visiting Brazil is far less likely to be a criminal, than a Brazilian visiting US...

And yet, if the ones implementing this scheme were the UK, or Germany, or France, or Japan, fingerprinting all visitors including Americans... would you feel like you're been treated like a good-intentioned tourist, or like a potential criminal?

Re:back at ya (3, Insightful)

outcast36 (696132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510248)

Actually, USians on the run from the law are MORE likely to go to Brazil. Brazil has strong protections regarding extradition [state.gov] . While naturalized citizens can be deported, Brazil will actually make the US go through some sort of due process before they ship them off.

My experience (3, Insightful)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509870)

I had little choice but to visit the US when I was offered the job of my dreams. Here I am, my two index fingers and thumb prints in who knows what govt databases. With my country now in the EU and my gf back home... I wonder what on earth I'm doing here, but I'm beginning to like it in a strange way.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510232)

reminds me of that bit in road trip (I think) where whats his face begins to enjoy having fingers shoved up his arse...

Avoiding the USA..? (3, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509872)


If this goes ahead, before visiting the USA I want to know:

1) What is the chance of a false positive with this system? i.e. what is the chance that it might think I am someone they are looking for?
2) What is the procedure then for someone who is not an American citizen?

I can imagine what hell you might go through if this system identifies you as a wanted terrorist - not a chance I want to take, even if the odds of it happening are very low.

Re:Avoiding the USA..? (1)

Falesh (1000255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510058)

Come to the US! There is even a chance you may win a free holiday in sunny Guantanamo Bay! ;)

Re:Avoiding the USA..? (4, Interesting)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510404)

That's not how it works. AFIS systems, especially criminal ones, don't take -ANY- sort of decision by themselves, they just do some matching on the DB, and produce 'candidates' list (ie: the list of prints that look the most like the one(s) you searched.) then an expert looks at the results, and resumes the identification visually, as they've been doing since fingerprint identification was invented. The system is mostly a HUGE time saver for identification experts.
So, it's quite unlikely that they'll be checking your airport-scanned fingerprints against the whole database while you wait, as they can't possibly have as many experts checking prints, and would have to automate the process (allowing the system to declare HIT/NOHITs automatically, which means there'd be an error margin). If they did automate the process and actually look for your prints in the whole database, they should be trained and informed that any result from such a system is NOT definitive, and subject to an expert's confirmation to be taken seriously.

If they're doing anything else than just taking the prints and storing them (no, didn't read tfa.. will do later), most probably they'll be doing authentication rather than identification. That is, the first time they take your prints, store them on a DB related to your passport number for example. When you pass thru the airport again, you're re taken your prints, and they're searched on the DB by your passport number... if your record on the DB says there's your prints there, it will compare the prints it just scanned to the ones on the DB, if they match, no problem, if they don't, houston we have a problem (auth is way more accurate than ident when done automatically, and of course orders of magnitude faster).

but that's not the problem.. what really scares me is that they're (according to the summary) adding them to a CRIMINAL database!.. that's outright illegal in some countries, and it should well be!! Normally there's a civil database, which is used for civil ident (like say on a bank, or to get a new document or something), and only uses 2 or 6 fingers, non-rolled, which are not fit for matching against crime-scene-lifted partial prints (btw, its quite rare to find a complete, perfect print on a crime scene a la CSI or worse, national treasure.. BS). And then there's criminal systems which keep all 10 fingers, rolled, which can be used to search against crime-scene-lifted partial fps. Mixing the two sucks. Sadly It's also done here in Argentina when you get a passport, as they only have one AFIS system for the federal police, they use the same one both for criminals and for civilians.. (apparently we can't afford 2 systems). Records belong to one scope or the other depending on the ID type. The criminal record (if there's any) is kept elsewhere, on another system, and it's only referenced manually with a common key.
Still sucks :(

I like the US. Americans are nice... (4, Insightful)

Yonzie (516292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509934)

And I've spent more than a year living there. However, I'll be damned if I'll set foot in a country that brands me as a criminal the instant I step off the plane. It's no surprise the RIAA/MPAA comes from the same place... It's bad enough with the ridiculous video [youtube.com] branding me when I just bought the damn movie.

Paranoia is nice under some circumstances, but this is just ridiculous. Like they actually think it'll do any good? It'll be really nice to know who blew up WTC v2.0 after the fact, yeah...

As it is I avoid travel to the US (4, Insightful)

ameline (771895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509954)

As it is now, I avoid travelling to the US -- No, I don't appear or sound middle eastern -- I just don't like the way things are headed south of the border, and I will not spend a single tourist dollar in a country that will illegally deport a fellow Canadian citizen to be tortured in Syria for a year.

At the moment, I will travel on business -- but if they want my fingerprints for a criminal database -- then I will not travel to the US at all. I will not consent to being fingerprinted for criminal database purposes just because I'm on a business trip.

(And I'm not one of the left leaning bleeding heart liberal types :-) I tend to lean right -- but this police state crap has got to stop.)

Re:As it is I avoid travel to the US (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510564)

I suspect that the way this program would be implemented is similar to the "no-fly list" where the airlines fingerprint you when you buy a ticket or check in. It's SOOOOO easy to add a fingerprint scanner to the automated check-in machines, non-scanners get denied boarding, or maybe even to get yuour prints from your credit card company if you pay with the card (some cards are requiring biometric ID or will soon). First it will be US Flag carriers, then to get admission to US Airspace the foreign flag carriers will have to implement the same systems. If I go to my bank and they don't recognize me they make me put a fingerprint on my check to cash/deposit it, that practice is becoming common too. The horse has left the barn on this one, it is too easy to get fingerprints in the USA. Summation is you want to do business with the worlds largest consumer you follow the Security rules. Of course this opens the door for a "tit for tat" for US persons visiting foreign nations.

Holy hell (3, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509968)

It's bad enough that the FBI might want to store your prints permanently in a criminal database without cause, but to then share that information with who knows how many other countries?

How is any individual supposed to protect themselves when you can't even keep track of who has your fingerprints?

Re:Holy hell (1, Interesting)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510174)

If you have ever had your prints taken by any law enforcement agency in the U.S., the FBI got a copy for their database. Guess what, thats been going on since the 1930s. The same holds true if you were in the military, thats how they got mine 31 years ago. Has there been any problem from that? No! If my prints ever get lifted from a crime scene there will be a problem, so I don't commit crimes. Real easy solution. This is such a non-story that I'm really surprised it got posted.

Where all this is going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17509970)

Every day, with each successive restriction on our freedoms, we inch closer to this:

Revelation 13:16-17 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save that he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

I don't know in what form, or when, but it will come.

The really depressing thing is that most everyone will eagerly take it. You can bet it will be marketed as "for your safety" and/or "for the children."

'Scuse me, I need to write a letter to a friend. Don't worry, big brother^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HGeorge Bush will make sure it contains no crimethink^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hterrorist plots.

Re:Where all this is going... (1, Funny)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510150)

Na, we are already there. Think Microsoft!

Is there a Microsoft mouse under you right hand?
Is the monitor in front of your head have a Microsoft logo on it?

What about his name!

The real name of "the" Bill Gates is William Henry Gates III.
Nowadays he is known as Bill Gates (III), where "III" means the
order of third (3rd.)

By converting the letters of his current name to the ASCII-values
and adding his (III), you get the following:

B 66
I 73
L 76
L 76
G 71
A 65
T 84
E 69
S 83
+ 3
--------------
      666 !!
or

M S - D O S 6 . 2 1
77+83+45+68+79+83+32+54+46+50+49 = 666

W I N D O W S 9 5
87+73+78+68+79+87+83+57+53+1 = 666

How about the number of letters in

Microsoft Windows XP

It comes to 18, or 6+6+6

The same with NT

You are already in bead with the beast! It is time to repent and reject the beast. Come join the true believers and find how Linux can set you free.

LoL

Re:Where all this is going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510396)

Your a twat. This is old as the hills and complete rubbish. Get yourself a girlfriend or perhaps you have your prison buddy.... hopefully your post will be modded down like it deserves flame boy.

Re:Where all this is going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510422)

Yes, and you can do the same with the pope, prince Charles, and a zillion others. Probably yourself too, if you fiddle around with the numbers a bit. But last time I checked, I can continue to function (mostly) without some sort of ID or loyalty mark or whatever. But very gradually, we find ourselves under more scrutiny in everyday life, it seems with each passing week!

Who could imagine our current situation, even 10 years ago? This crap happened *fast*.

To me, its just plain wild, that something so ancient, and derided, and widely regarded as nonsense, seems to have nailed just where we are headed.

No finger prints helps. (5, Funny)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509980)

Just use a belt sander with 80 grit paper on it.

Turn it on, place fingers on sand paper, hold as long as you can stand it. Repeat until prints are gone. No problem.

Finger prints are only 1/32 of an in deep. It is dead skin and serves no real purpose. I started sanding mine off several years ago when the state went to mandatory fingerprinting to get a drivers license. It is easy and the look on the persons face when you say "I don't have finger prints!" is just something else. :)

The other thing you can do is to cover the tips of your fingers with super glue. It works quite well and does not come off for some time.

Re:No finger prints helps. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510132)

the look on the persons face when you say "I don't have finger prints!" is just something else.
Is it anything like the looks you get when you pick up an orange and immediately pass out from the agony?

Re:No finger prints helps. (5, Funny)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510144)

"I don't have finger prints!"


So... any time there's no fingerprints at the crime scene... that was YOU?

Re:No finger prints helps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510224)

"I started sanding mine off several years ago"

It is a little sad when you get to a point where you're so afraid of the state you live in that you're willing to self mutilate for your own safety.

Re:No finger prints helps. (3, Funny)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510386)

I'll send a letter to my senator asking him to ban sanding paper. Only terrorists and kidie-porn freaks use sanding paper. Would someone please think of the children?

Homeland Security. My home. My security. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510024)

I'm a freedom nut. If there is no fence, no armed guard or dog...I'll roam wherever I damn well please.

If someone wants to enter into my house, I must know them. If I don't know them they better damned well be authorized. I believe countries should be able to do the same.

I don't like this mind you: Data collection is annoying at best. While Visa(r) and my bank know what I eat, where I shop, how often I drive and what that I'm single (dating services require credit cards).

So, perhaps the question is this: As the world is flat and getting smaller, more people will want to visit, move, work and bomb the United States, what do (they) do?

I want to know if it's a crime to permentantly remove your fingerprints. As I am traveling next month to a not-US friendly country, I am going to have to play by their rules. I'm fine with that. It's their house.

One response... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510060)

I just read that summary to a couple of my colleagues, and "WTF is going on over there!" was their shared response. None of us will be going near the US from now on.

Strong border security... (0, Troll)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510206)

Is *exactly* what's needed. If we can prevent dangerous people who hate the US from entering and possibly causing mayhem in the first place, then we can afford to be more relaxed with our domestic laws. Whether or not those people are justified in hating the US is a seperate question, but the average American is innocent in this and need not be subjected to increased risk of terrorism *nor* to Draconian domestic anti-terrorism laws. A strong border around a more free society is a totally reasonably compromise, IMHO.

I hope that after a decade or so without another attack, we can keep the good border security and finally repeal some of the more obnoxious domestic laws.

-b.

Re:Strong border security... (3, Insightful)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510352)

but the average American is innocent in this and need not be subjected to increased risk of terrorism *nor* to Draconian domestic anti-terrorism laws

The average [inser_country_here] Citizen is innoent too, you know. And yet we are seen as a potential criminal when entering the U.S. (more so if we are Latin American, African or Middle-Eastern).

Re:Strong border security... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510510)

The average [inser_country_here] Citizen is innoent too, you know. And yet we are seen as a potential criminal when entering the U.S. (more so if we are Latin American, African or Middle-Eastern).

But if we catch the non-innocent fraction and turn them away before they enter, then this makes everyone's life in the US a bit easier. We're not talking about a criminal prosecution here, we're talking about the privilege of entering US soil.

-b.

Re:Strong border security... (1)

AVee (557523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510578)

I'd say go for it!
Just go for the best possible border security, close all airports, all harbours, cut a fibers running through the ocean, stop all satelite communication and have yourself a nice little country full of freedom.

Good luck, bye bye.

Oh, and please don't forget to fetch all these americans everywere around the world. We don't need 'm anymore.

2/19 5/19? (1)

Yonzie (516292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510234)

With the previous initiative, apparently 2 of 19 hijackers in the 9/11 tragedy could have been caught.
With this new improved initiative, maybe they could have caught 5 of the 19... Wow. That will clearly to put an end to 'domestic terrorism'.

Getting Worse Every Time (3, Insightful)

littleRedFriend (456491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510250)

I travel from Europe to the US on a regular basis (once a month) for work. It's getting worse and worse. They track everything about you. I get held up when trying to enter. They're asking me more and more pointless questions. Like where do you work, what kind of work do you do, when will you going back, when was the last time you visited, where do you stay. I can't book any internal US flights from Europe anymore, since they can't verify my European credit card anymore (this started last month). Welcome to the US, land of the guilty until proven innocent.

At some point I'm not going to put up with this Bullcrap anymore. I'm just going to stay in Europe. And you can forget about my business.

So what (0, Redundant)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510282)

Hey, they're collecting the fingerprints of non-citizens. I got no problem with this.
The repeated claims that this is eroding our rights is, in a word, silly.

Two telling comments (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510314)

The first is Chertoff's assertion that thi will deter the "unknown terrorist." If they are unknown, then we probably don't have their finger prints. The second was the addition of the word "crime" along side terrorism. First, not everything that is a crime in one country is a crime in another. For example, it's against the law to spout Nazi propagand in Germany, but not a crime to do so in the US. Who's standard would we apply when determining someone is a criminal? Would we arrest and detain Chinese dissidents at the airport because China said they're "criminals"? Given the volume of data, even a very low incidence of false positives may result in the detention of hundreds of innocent people.

This is why I refuse to visit the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510420)

I've always wanted to go and the opportunity arises frequently through work. I'll consent to fingerprinting if I'm ever arrested for a crime, unless visiting the US is a crime then I'll not be consenting.

What next....really? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17510546)

This is a major breach of privacy. Its not so much that I care about them taking my fingerprints and storing it in a database. Its about sharing the information with other countries. Is this to say that without my prior knowledge and consent, that most any country would / /could have my fingerprints on file?

I'm equally concerned about false accusations. There is ample case history of fingerprint and DNA mismatches in the US and Canada abroad (mostly due to really sloppy procedures). I'd rather they use the motive, opportunity and pyhsical proximity stuff before just looking everything up in a database. I'd rather avoid the media attention and stress of being on trial just being on trial.

Not coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17510646)

You guys can have your bloody country, soon no-one will want to visit and you won't be welcome anywhere else either. Increasing your isolation is hardly the way to decrease the chance of screwing up on something like Iraq again. Of all the places in the world, the US is most in need of a better perpective of its place in the world. I hardly think this will help.
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