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EU Plans to Require Biometrics for Visitors

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the tourism-killers dept.

Government 238

bushwhacker2000 writes to tell us that the EU may soon be requiring travelers to provide biometric data before crossing into Europe. They are trying to soften the blow by offering "streamlined" services for frequent travelers but the end result seems the same. "The proposals, contained in draft documents examined by the International Herald Tribune and scheduled to go to the European Commission on Wednesday, were designed to bring the EU visa regime into line with a new era in which passports include biometric data. The commission, the EU executive, argues that migratory pressure, organized crime and terrorism are obvious challenges to the Union and that the bloc's border and visa policy needs to be brought up to date."

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Hmm (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383904)

Doesn't sound so bad to me, a few peices of my soul for a chance to visit a place where my American dollars are now worth crap and I widely disliked... Indeed, a win win proposition.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383956)

Doesn't sound so bad to me, a few peices of my soul for a chance to visit a place where my American dollars are now worth crap and I widely disliked... Indeed, a win win proposition.

Well, to be fair, we started it. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Hmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384320)

Not that the european governements complained to hard. Citizens, yes. Governements no.

It is real simple, both are way to happy that the other checks their citizens in a way they can not do themselves because their own laws do not allow that.

The home of the free is not that free anymore. Mostly because the bave are not that brave anymore either.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384352)

Well, to be fair, we started it.

Umm, both America and Europe now. Maybe it's time to refresh the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants?

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384648)

It's patriots and tyrants, and the trick is to find the patriots who are willing to refresh the tree of liberty with their own blood as well as that of tyrants.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385062)

and the trick is to find the patriots who are willing to refresh the tree of liberty with their own blood as well as that of tyrants.

Too bad most people in the modern world are perfectly content with losing their rights, provided that they still have their blackberries, TVs, cheap gasoline, houses and the illusion of security from terrorists.

Yeah, it's probably not as bad as all that, but it sure does feel that way sometimes, doesn't it?

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385416)

I'm starting to see the other side of the equation. I was watching a show on television the other night and the subject was MS13, the gang that started in Los Angeles and is now spreading across Central America (El Savador, Guatamela and Honduras). One of the big problems that the police are encountering when dealing with the gang is that when they arrest the guys here in America, they deport them. Once deported they join the gang in Central America. When they get into trouble in Central America they flee back to the United States. If we had stronger controls over who comes in and out of the country, we'd have an easier time tracking criminals who jump back and forth across the border.

I think that a lot of people (myself included) who have problems with these "intrusive programs" aren't dealing with the realities of the situations that they are implemented to deal with. We're all worried about these frightful "what if" scenarios. We don't realize that there are some situations in which "intrusive" tactics are required. For example I do some community service in Long Beach, CA. The place where I do community service is a "very bad" neighborhood. The police are actively doing what they can to deal with the problems (drug dealing, auto burglaries, gang intimidation, etc.) Part of what the police do is they stop anybody who they see riding around on bikes. They stop the people to figure out who they are and what they are doing in the neighborhood. On one hand, doing so is probably a violation of some "inherent rights." On the other hand, the police are doing what they need to do to reduce the number of convincted criminals running around the neighborhood.

I don't really buy into the whole War on Terror crap that is being shoved down our throats because I am well read enough and educated enough to realize that our government created al Qaeda and our government actively supports governments that oppress their people to the point where they become "terrorists." So although "terrorist" might not be a good label to put on freedom fighters actively resisting the new world order, the label definitely does fit some organizations that are terrorizing communities right now, right here in the United States. Organizations like MS13, the Mexican mafia, etc.

!quid pro quo (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384802)

If it was... well... there is hope that one day one side would back off. It is much worse.

It is a trend.

Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384990)

yeah, and any day I expect the US to adopt the biometric anal probe

ah sir, just bend over and keep your pants down - this is a two part deal - no two anal linings are alike and we need to be sure you didn't shove weapons of mass destruction up there!

ah, sir, is that what I think it is? I need to remove and confiscate this socket wrench set and duct tape... you can keep the hamster, but you really should transport pets in a pet container. Have a nice day!

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

aiwarrior (1030802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385284)

Not only you(Americans) started it( i had to get a new passport so i could suit your requirements ), but as i read in this article http://freeinternetpress.com/story.php?sid=15272 [freeinternetpress.com] you are going to tighten rules even more.
  I loved my trip to U.S.A. and would like to return there in the near future, but it really spoils the experience when i'm treated like a criminal who has to answer a form with such ridiculous question as "Are you making your trip with any intent of committing a crime in the United States?" or "Do you carry any illegal substances?" kind of questions.WTF??
  Don't get me wrong though, it's not just TSA guys that like to annoy people our customs guys are annoying too, but we don't make such a fuss about it, perhaps wrongfully.

  PS: If you were in charge what would you choose? Security or convenience?

Streamlined Biometrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384462)

They are trying to soften the blow by offering "streamlined" services for frequent travelers...

With all the long hallways in the airports, just put in a camera and analyze my gait. That way they have biometrics and it will be streamlined! Ta-da! I'm a genius...

Re:Hmm (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384790)

I'm delighted that governments make efforts to control their borders. Their countries do not belong to anyone else but their lawful citizens. As a visitor, I have zero reason to conceal my identity and every reason to want to prove who I am.

Re:Hmm (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384998)

Where that thinking breaks down is when the country you're visiting trades that data you gave them for information on its own citizens.

Weak premise (0, Offtopic)

NobodyExpects (843016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383914)

I thought being first was limited to subscribers!

Re:Weak premise (1)

NobodyExpects (843016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384088)

Argh... can't edit my post? The difficulty with using biometrics to identify and passport holder is that the identity of the individual is based on a piece of paper (the birth certificate), and not something more concrete. Biometrics just identifies the fact that the passport holder is the one who applied for the document in the first place...

Re:Weak premise (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384124)

Argh... can't edit my post?
Most definitely new here.

Re:Weak premise (1)

sunami (751539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384336)

I hear getting the first post on a story then editing it to have actual information so you don't look like a douche makes you cool confirm/deny?

Great! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383928)

Now where do I flee to?

Re:Great! (3, Insightful)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384142)

Chad. They have no biometrics at the border - you can just stroll right in, with nary a fingerprint reader or retina scanner in sight.

Do bring a machete, though.

Re:Great! (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384860)

Chad. They have no biometrics at the border - you can just stroll right in, with nary a fingerprint reader or retina scanner in sight.

Do bring a machete, though.
Last I checked, Chad is in the midst of a Civil War...
You probably don't want to take a knife to a gun fight.

In the new era, two forms of biometric data... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383946)

In the new era, two forms of biometric data are used: photograph and signature.

It's America's fault (0)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383952)

Someone will find a way to claim it.

Re:It's America's fault (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384096)

It IS the US's fault.

This is just tit-for-tat: the US requires the same things of Europeans entering the US, and the EU is returning the favor.

Re:It's America's fault (1, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384848)

America insisted on this nonsense because their president is an idiot and they have security agencies that have ulterior motives.

We (from the EU) should have risen above this stupidity - but obviously we haven't.

An eye for an eye, in this case leaves everyone carrying ridiculous amounts of documentation (or maybe just staying at home).

politics as usual (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384954)

This is just tit-for-tat: the US requires the same things of Europeans entering the US, and the EU is returning the favor.

If it were "tit-for-tat", it would only apply to US visitors and the Europeans would say that it was tit-for-tat (there isn't much point in doing it otherwise).

No, the EU is doing this for the same reasons the US is doing it. Whether they are good reasons is debatable, of course.

This is politics as usual: Europe follows the US pretty closely on privacy, policing, copyrights, and all that, sometimes after a bit of posturing.

Re:It's America's fault (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384118)

I thought we were all supposed to Blame Canada [sing365.com] for everything.

Re:It's America's fault (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384204)

For once, we're one of the few NOT trying to do this.

Goooo canada tourism =D

Re:It's America's fault (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384176)

Being flippant about it and dismissing them out of hand doesn't make them wrong and it doesn't make you right.

Re:It's America's fault (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384784)

Someone will find a way to claim it.
FTFA:
"The United States routinely requires European citizens to submit fingerprints when crossing its borders and the commission's document notes that America plans to introduce an electronic travel-authorization system for people from countries like Britain, France and Germany that are in its Visa Waiver Program."

This is what they're talking about:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/11/usa.theairlineindustry [guardian.co.uk]

Some quotes:
"And within months the US department of homeland security is to impose a new permit system for Europeans flying to the US, compelling all travellers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days."

And because someone had to blame this on America:
"If the Americans persevere in the proposed security crackdown, Brussels is likely to respond with tit-for-tat action, such as calling for visas for some Americans."

Re:It's America's fault (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385000)

Yes, but now that the US government has paved the way, the European governments are coming to realize that they actually like the idea of tighter border controls, too, and they find ready support in the population.

Requiring visas for Americans may be tit-for-tat, but biometrics at EU borders for non-Americans is not.

Re:It's America's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22385116)

Well, it is America's fault. If not for the USA's jingo-centric neo-empire based on lies from the Bush administration, the EU and Tony Blair's lap dog wouldn't torture. q.e.d.

Falls rome, falls the world (4, Insightful)

Azul (12241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383954)

Ugh.

One of the reasons I'm so worried to see the downward trend towards fascism in the United States is that in many ways Europe is not going in the opposite direction, it is simply lagging behind. Sure, I came to live in Switzerland, but I'm always seeing the same political abuses start to happen here just a few years after they start to happen in the United States, the same pro-corporations laws like the DMCA and the same trampling on people's rights, just a bit delayed.

Somehow this happening in the EU does not really surprise me. :-(

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (0, Troll)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384168)

You know, I really don't think someone who lives in a country that actively collaborated with actual fascists should be slinging that kind of abuse at a country that fought them.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384224)

So you mean the United States should stop criticising Russia?

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (0, Flamebait)

JSchoeck (969798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384444)

And of course the participation of the United States in World War II makes them immune to any further criticism in the second millennium after Jesus Christ.

Sadly the grandparent is right, in Germany way too much tightening of the personal freedom has occurred during the last years. We can only hope that it stops very soon.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (2, Interesting)

gobbo (567674) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384528)

You know, I really don't think someone who lives in a country that actively collaborated with actual fascists should be slinging that kind of abuse at a country that fought them.

Oh, that's ripe! You're suggesting that the USA has clean hands, never supported or installed tyrants and corporatists, that Prescott Bush and his cronies didn't fund the Nazi war machine, that IBM had nothing to do with the Holocaust, that Operation Paperclip was just a liberation, that the fascists who attempted a coup on FDR met justice and were punished (look up Smedley Butler).

One of the most disappointing things about America the Brave, the Beautiful, is the perverse revisionist history that its patriotism requires.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385114)

One of the most disappointing things about America the Brave, the Beautiful, is the perverse revisionist history that its patriotism requires.

Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that.

To the victors go the spoils, and better yet, they get to write the histories. That's the way it has always been, and is the way it will always be. One of the most disappointing things I notice about people in other countries (yes, especially Europeans of various stripes) is the fundamental hypocrisy typified by your comment. Hold us to a higher standard if you like, put us on some kind of worthless pedestal. Just remember that we never asked you to, never claimed to be better than you (even though we often acted better than you) and don't expect us to feel sorry for you when you finally realize the truth. Deal with it. We won't lose any sleep over your discomfiture, believe me. Furthermore, much of Europe's history has been bloodier than ours (you call Bush a tyrant, but frankly Europe has it all over the U.S. in the tyrant department, you guys are true experts at breeding warmongering headcases.) Deal with that too, when you grow up enough to turn that critical eye upon yourself.

Keep in mind, also, that much of what has happened to America since the end of World War II can be directly traced to Europe's inability to keep the lid on, to manage it's own affairs sufficiently well that a psychopathic asshole like Hitler could be kept in check. Try to minimize America's role in that conflict as much as you want (speaking of perverse revisionist history) but the reality is that the United States, its people, and its political system took a big hit from our involvement. Frankly, looking at how things turned out since them, I'm starting to believe that our earlier isolationist policies weren't such a bad idea. That war cost us, on so many levels, and we're still paying for it ... in spades.

Think of this also: much as you dislike the United States' current policies, there's much worse than us loose in the world. Take China, for example: that is not a friendly nation, it's out for blood. Don't count Russia out yet either, as militaristic totalitarian states go. So, when the United States' "empire" has fallen, when our military has pulled back to our shores, you'd best look to your own defense because we won't be there this time around.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385598)

So, when the United States' "empire" has fallen, when our military has pulled back to our shores, you'd best look to your own defense because we won't be there this time around.

Are you aware that pretty much everyone who was involved in the success and failures of WWII is dead? That blaming a country now is like blaming America for the genocide of the native Americans whereas the people involved with the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act is alive and well.

I mean can you really blame people for something that happened before they were born?

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385226)

You're suggesting that... Prescott Bush and his cronies didn't fund the Nazi war machine

Well, that one, at least, I don't mind suggesting.

Prescott Bush was hired on at an investment firm that had already invested in Nazi Germany. This investment was initated by the firm's founder (ironically a Progressive, later FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union) before Bush joined the firm. During his tenure at the firm, Bush was responsible for managing the firm's domestic portfolios here in the U.S. The firm's founder retained control of the firm's foreign portfolios--including the firm's investments in Nazi Germany.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

gobbo (567674) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385566)

Bush was responsible for managing the firm's domestic portfolios here in the U.S. The firm's founder retained control of the firm's foreign portfolios--including the firm's investments in Nazi Germany.

Conceded that Bush's ass was covered and the evidence of complicity is slim, though your faith in the good faith of investment bankers of the period is touching.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385574)

You're suggesting that the USA has clean hands, never supported or installed tyrants and corporatists

Where is he suggesting that?

to do with the Holocaust, that Operation Paperclip was just a liberation, that the fascists who attempted a coup on FDR met justice and were punished (look up Smedley Butler).

Did the coup succeed? Did the US end up gassing millions of Jews? No. And that's the difference.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

Kinnaird (851535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385030)

How do you spell Texaco. Yee of little historical knowledge.

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

Kinnaird (851535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385222)

With a little Google effort you too can become informed Gospodin! "Westrick, Texaco, and I.T.T. I.T.T. had yet another conduit to Nazi Germany, through German attorney Dr. Gerhard Westrick. Westrick was one of a select group of Germans who had conducted espionage in the United States during World War I. The group included not only Kurt von Schröder and Westrick but also Franz von Papen -- whom we shall meet in company with James Paul Warburg of the Bank of Manhattan in Chapter Ten -- and Dr. Heinrich Albert. Albert, supposedly German commercial attache in the U.S. in World War I, was actually in charge of financing yon Papen's espionage program. After World War I Westrick and Albert formed the law firm of Albert & Westrick which specialized in, and profited heavily from, the Wall Street reparations loans. The Albert & Westrick firm handled the German end of the J Henry Schroder Banking loans, while the John Foster Dulles firm of Sullivan and Cromwell in New York handled the U.S. end of the Schroder loans. Just prior to World War II the Albert-Papen-Westrick espionage operation in the United States began to repeat itself, only this time around the American authorities were more alert. Westrick came to the U.S. in 1940, supposedly as a commercial attache but in fact as Ribbentrop's personal representative. A stream of visitors to the influential Westrick in-eluded prominent directors of U.S. petroleum and industrial firms, and this brought Westrick to the attention of the FBI. Westrick at this time became a director of all I.T.T. operations in Germany, in order to protect I.T.T. interests during the expected U.S. involvement in the European war.8 Among his other enterprises Westrick attempted to persuade Henry Ford to cut off supplies to Britain, and the favored treatment given by the Nazis to Ford interests in France suggests that Westrick was partially successful in neutralizing U.S. aid to Britain. Although Westrick's most important wartime business connection in the United States was with International Telephone and Telegraph, he also represented other U.S. firms, including Underwood Elliott Fisher, owner of the German company Mercedes Buromaschinen A.G.; Eastman Kodak, which had a Kodak subsidiary in Germany; and the International Milk Corporation, with a Hamburg subsidiary. Among Westrick's deals (and the one which received the most publicity) was a contract for Texaco to supply oil to the German Navy, which he arranged with Torkild Rieber, chairman of the board of Texaco Company. In 1940 Rieber discussed an oil deal with Hermann Goering, and Westrick in the United States worked for Texas Oil Company. His automobile was bought with Texaco funds, and Westrick's driver's license application gave Texaco as his business address. These activities were publicized on August 12, 1940. Rieber subsequently resigned from Texaco and Westrick returned to Germany. Two years later Rieber was chairman of South Carolina Shipbuilding and Dry Docks, supervising construction of more than $10 million of U.S. Navy ships, and a director of the Guggenheim family's Barber Asphalt Corporation and Seaboard Oil Company of Ohio.9 I.T.T. in Wartime Germany In 1939 I.T.T. in the United States controlled Standard Elektrizitats in Germany, and in turn Standard Elektrizitats controlled 94 percent of Mix & Genest. On the board of Standard Elektrizitats was Baron Kurt von Schroder, a Nazi banker at the core of Nazism, and Emil Heinrich Meyer, brother-in-law of Secretary of State Keppler (founder of the Keppler Circle) and a director of German General Electric. Schroder and Meyer were also directors of Mix & Genest and the other I.T.T. subsidiary, C. Lorenz Company; both of these I.T.T. subsidiaries were monetary contributors to Himmler's Circle of Friends -- i.e., the Nazi S.S. slush fund. As late as 1944, Mix & Genest contributed 5,000 RM to Himmler and Lorenz contributed 20,000 RM. In short, during World War II International Telephone and Telegraph was making cash payments to S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler.10 These payments enabled I.T.T. to protect its investment in Focke-Wolfe, an aircraft manufacturing firm producing fighter aircraft used against the United States. The interrogation of Kurt von Schröder on November 19, 1945 points up the deliberate nature of the close and profitable relationship between Colonel Sosthenes Behn of I.T.T., Westrick, Schröder, and the Nazi war machine during World War II, and that this was a deliberate and knowledgeable relationship:"

Re:Falls rome, falls the world (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384238)

Given the multi-dimensional nature of "fascism" (not the best word, but we'll use it), that is, you can't just create a "fascism index number" and compare two places with a simple integer comparison, it is far more fair to say that both entities are blazing their own paths in this direction, neither particularly leading nor particularly following.

The dark night of fascism (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22385490)

The dark night of fascism is always falling on America, but it always lands in Europe.

That said the only way fascist totalitarianism will come to America is via the smiley face of liberalism.

Why do they even try? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383960)

Don't they know that any security feature they come up with can be cheated with a little work.

Is the data stored on the passport? (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383964)

Or is the biometric data stored in some central database? One must consider the weak points of this particular system, especially as far as the 'frequent traveller' system is concerned. If the scanner just checks the passport against the list of "OK" travelers, that's going to be easy enough to defeat; if it asks for fingerprints and facial features, that may be harder, but still quite possible to defeat with a little preparation time and some suitable research.

Of course, the human element on the manual checks will likely be the easiest to defeat, as it usually is.

Presumably... (3, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384726)

Like the U.S. system of past and present...both.

The chipped passports have a copy of what is printed on the face plus the extra biometric bits, all of which is also stored in a database, including reconciled entries for your previous visits through passport control. If the printed information or chip output differ from the central copy, they know it has been tampered with. This is not a terribly large departure from what already has been happening for decades when they scan your passport or punch in the number to pull up the record manually. The only difference in any of this is that they're adding a couple extra fields that don't really lend themselves to visual inspection. The cross-border data sharing and centralized collection within each country isn't remotely a new idea.

Besides, the more "secure" the document gets in the sense of positively linking it to the person carrying it, the less frightful the consequences of losing it. Not long ago, if you were roughly the same height/weight/age/gender, you could pretty well just pick a passport out of a stack provided by the hotel maid service. I mean, 6'1" brown/brown 180lbs 30yo male isn't a very precise set of biometrics, which doesn't sound too terrible until someone matching your description smuggles drugs into the country on your passport before you realize it went missing. If they can solve the question of "is this REALLY you" with an iris scan and a fingerprint, roughly 99.9% of the stolen document industry will disappear leaving only the most ridiculous James Bond worthy scenarios to worry about.

The bottom line is that the document is an assertion of the holder's identity. You have a personal interest in ensuring that you are the only one who can use it to successfully make that assertion.

Same result (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383984)

They are trying to soften the blow by offering "streamlined" services for frequent travelers but the end result seems the same

Translation: we want Americans to know what it feels like when we try and enter their country.

Re:Same result (1)

deodiaus2 (980169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384606)

I heard that Brazil was the first country which started asking Americans to undergo the same scrutiny that foreigners were subject to when visiting the US. This is all fine, but I would like ways to subject every peon to the same ass probing as I am subject to in the name of security. The next time some official wants information about me, I think I should get information about him. How do I know that he is not going to sell this stuff to somebody else. Similarly, I think its high time that we Americans demand far more control over use of our tax dollars. Rather than having some petty bureaucrat pass bills on our behalf, we should have a referendum on everything that we are paying for with full disclosure of uses. Funds collected for one item cannot be rolled over to another item.
Just two decades ago, our leaders were discussing how little freedom there was in the Soviet Union & Eastern block countries. Well, all of that was in the name of security.. Well, it seems that once the Soviet Union has fallen, America is no longer obligated to adhere to its democratic principles.

A country which gives away a bit of its freedoms in exchange for more security, gains neither nor deserves both. T. Jefferson

It would be much more fun... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385074)

...if the EU required brain "fingerprinting" of some sort. Not that it would tell them anything, it would probably be useless even as a biometric, but with world paranoia levels at stratospheric levels, absolutely nobody is going to believe that. You'd end up with either everyone doing the same and ending up with information overload (making said information useless - very popular jamming technique but only effective when you're talking about orders of magnitude of swamping) or a climbdown due to an outbreak of common sense (which sometimes happens). Either way, privacy and security actually improve.

Re:Same result (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385384)

Translation: we want Americans to know what it feels like when we try and enter their country.

Which begs the question... What voltage do EU tasers run at?

cattle (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383986)

you're all just cattle to them.

Nit: Since when ... (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383992)

Since when are pictures and finger prints NOT biometric data?

Re:Nit: Since when ... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384060)

(Also: Hair color, eye color, height, weight, sex, ...)

It's not like this stuff is new. It's just getting more complete - and intrusive.

These ARE documents used by governments to certify to other governments that they'll take this person back, exactly who it is they're certifying, and where he's been the last few years.

Copyright vs Security (2, Interesting)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384024)

If I copyright the images of my retinas and fingerprints, can I sue the governments for keeping a record of it without my permission?

Re:Copyright vs Security (1)

Shteven (1137821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384090)

You would own the copyright to those images only; they would be free to take new ones of you at any time [that you tried to cross a border]. Once they pass the law that allows them to do it for border transports, wait a few years and remove the bracketed phrase.

Let's open a can of worms... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384188)

I wonder. If you clam that your fingerprints are an original work of art, they're already copyrighted. I rather doubt that using them for identification purposes against your will would come under Fair Use. IANAL, and I doubt such a claim could (or should) be supported, but the implications are interesting, to say the least.

Re:Let's open a can of worms... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384318)

Here's a bigger can...

I also wonder whether fingerprints are truly unique? Perhaps there's just a very huge number of variants. It's not like it easy to be sure is it? Just because no-one's found duplicates doesn't mean there aren't any -- after all I bet no-one's even looking for dupes. What if they weren't unique?

What if each of us has at least one person out there with identical fingerprints? Food for though huh? Probably would even stand up in court if you had a good enough lawyer.

Re:Let's open a can of worms... (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384524)

Even identical twins do not have identical fingerprints, they're not entirely determined by genetics. So good luck with your search for a match.

Re:Let's open a can of worms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22385186)

The problem is that matches are based on statistics. There is a chance of two people having statistically close fingerprints. Fingerprints don't fall into a uniform distribution so unless you are an extreme distribution outlier your uniqueness is limited to the granularity of the matching algorithm.

Add to that that prints lifted in the field tend to be partials or smeared and it opens even more possibilities for error.

Re:Let's open a can of worms... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385552)

Not sure that means anything at all. Just because we haven't found any matches doesn't mean there aren't any. The percentage of humanity alive that's been fingerprint checked is tiny. There's very little cross checking from country to country. Fingerprints haven't been around for much more than 100 years -- there's probably very little research been done into them in the past 50 years or so.

We all assume they are unique, and now it is a widely accepted fact, that few would ever think to challenge -- but actually the statistical sample that's based on isn't large at all. It may well not be true.

I know it is unlikely that there are matches, but it's not impossible.

Re:Let's open a can of worms... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384522)

Well, you can't claim copyright on your own fingerprints, because you didn't create them. Your parents, however, waved all copyright claims on you long ago...

Two Weeks. Two Weeks. TWOWOWO - (-1, Offtopic)

shihonage (731699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384042)

... weeks.

Re:Two Weeks. Two Weeks. TWOWOWO - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384374)

eleveneleveneleveneleveneleveneleveneleveneleveneleven!

FIVE!

Eraserhead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384054)



Do unto others as you would do unto them.

Sounds logical only to a Bushite.

The level of paranoia is growing exponentially (4, Insightful)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384072)

It seems there is a real competition in the world to see who is the most paranoid country on the planet. Governments across the globe have surpassed any level of terror the terrorists could generate because they have institutionalized fear to far greater effect than the terrorists could ever achieve on their own.

Personally, I think this nonsense has more to do with xenophobia, racism, and political control than with combating actual terrorism.

Re:The level of paranoia is growing exponentially (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384230)

As an anonymous coward I would like to comment on this. Watch "America: From Freedom to Fascism" and "Zeitgeist" on google video to get a heads up on what the the New World Order has planned for us.

Re:The level of paranoia is growing exponentially (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384246)

Mod parent insightful.

And the UK is currently leading the competition. I doubt if even China or North Korea could catch them now.

Re:The level of paranoia is growing exponentially (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384248)

Personally, I think this nonsense has more to do with xenophobia, racism, and political control than with combating actual terrorism.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Oh and check this out: Fear [theonion.com]

The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384078)

the EU should just ban the USA from visiting and vice versa, it would be much more convienient
perhaps we shall goto China or Russia this year, none of this fingerprint and eye photo crap at the US border and as a bonus we get treated like guests not criminals

so say goodbye to the US tourism industry RIP 2008

The US administration is pressing the 27 governments of the European Union to sign up for a range of new security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on all flights from Europe to America by US airlines.

The demand to put armed air marshals on to the flights is part of a travel clampdown by the Bush administration that officials in Brussels described as "blackmail" and "troublesome", and could see west Europeans and Britons required to have US visas if their governments balk at Washington's requirements.

According to a US document being circulated for signature in European capitals, EU states would also need to supply personal data on all air passengers overflying but not landing in the US in order to gain or retain visa-free travel to America, senior EU officials said.

And within months the US department of homeland security is to impose a new permit system for Europeans flying to the US, compelling all travellers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days.

The data from the US's new electronic transport authorisation system is to be combined with extensive personal passenger details already being provided by EU countries to the US for the "profiling" of potential terrorists and assessment of other security risks.


thanks but ill stay at home and advise people not to visit the US on business or pleasure.
mission accomplished.

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384152)

Hate to say it, but mod AC up. It really is going to kill tourism on some levels and I for one don't need additional data being captured on myself just to get somewhere. This is retarded.

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384322)

Given that our friends in France already scan my passport when I arrive... and that I create a record of my trip about every five seconds with credit card purchases... and that I don't take any steps to hide my presence there (in fact, I send out a ton of postcards that read OMGWTFRANCE!), why the heck should I care if they have my thumbprint or retinal print anyway? There's already no privacy when crossing borders.

Seriously, I'm not being a troll. Someone please tell me why this is somehow worse than them seeing my passport anyway, assuming that I am who I say I am (and I am, I say).

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (2)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384664)

It doesn't matter that they collect the data. What matters is what they can do with the data. It goes like this:

1. Collect data
2. Make a law that allows using this data for solving most brutal crimes
3. Make a law that allows using this data for solving any crime
4. Make new laws to "protect" the citisen.
5. Film next season of Big Brother on the streets.
6. Profit

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384358)

What's next? Razor wire fences around the entire continent with border checkpoints? Papers, please. When did the EU become Nazi Germany again?

I can tell you right now that if this passes, this summer's trip to Italy will be my last European trip. I've f*cking had it with governments treating everyone like a criminal, and I won't spend my hard-earned money to support any EU nation that signs on for this bullshit. I encourage everyone of a like mind to do the same.

Remember, you have a choice in vacation destinations, and you have a right not to travel to countries with fascist regimes.

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384172)

And Canadian convention center owners wring their hands in anticipation.

Kudos to the US and the EU for making us one of the best places to hold a convention in the modern world!

Re:The USA wants a LOT more from the EU (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384236)

Have you been to the US recently? Take Top Gear's advice: just don't go!

They can't keep their airports clean. They can't keep their roads paved - I certainly don't expect potholes the width of the road in a first-world country, and certainly not on major highways!

Seriously, it's like visiting a third world country, except that no one is interested in improving anything.

Ooh! (0, Flamebait)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384146)

Now I'm going to HAVE to go to Germany, just to have some guy with that accent go "Your papers, Sir?" I wonder if I can bribe one to go "THESE ARE NOT IN ORDER! DER FURHER WILL BE MOST DISPLEASED!" I get all tingly just thinking about it...

BIO data? I think I know what I'll give them. (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384166)

its like the old story about a guy who goes to the doctor.


the doctor says, "I'll need a stool stample, a blood sample, a urine sample and a semen sample."

the guy says to the doc, "here's my underwear; YOU sort it out!"


something tells me, though, that customs folks don't quite have any sense of humor... but that's the kind of 'bio data' I'd like to give them.

Great idea... (2, Insightful)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384222)

We'll be harassing air travelers, while the (ever moving) eastern border is a proverbial highway for illegal travel. 'Cause Al-Qaeda prefers to fly first class before they blow themselves up, that will show them.

Oh no! (1)

jjh37997 (456473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384268)

The evil, nasty government is going to know my shoe size, earlobe shape and eye colour!

A golden era of travel is coming to an end :-( (4, Interesting)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384340)

I've just arrived in Japan, which has - following pressure from the US - introduced fingerprinting at the border for all foreigners (including those with residence rights, not just visitors). While the process was relatively smooth (put your index fingers on a little machine), it's been my first contact with the world of paranoid "anti-terrorist" biometrics and for me marks the end of an era where international travel has been an expression of freedom.

Re:A golden era of travel is coming to an end :-( (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384476)

I take you haven't been to the US lately. At least, not as a non-citizen.

The number of people protesting this is kinda sad, given that it's clear that those people must be Americans who don't realize that the US DoI has been doing exactly this for a number of years now.

Re:A golden era of travel is coming to an end :-( (1)

fizzywhistle (1111353) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385084)

Maybe we realize it, theres just nothing we can do about it. I can vote for someone I think will restore basic human rights to the country (and overseas visitors) but it could take years before I'll even know if they will do what they say they will or even try. Forget biometric data. You should be worried about extraordinary rendition. If I were a foreigner I wouldn't come here. Theres plenty of other places to go.

Where's the beef? (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384364)

How come I haven't seen a "Titers Please..." joke yet?

It's only a matter of time until we have the GATTACA-style finger-prick turnstiles. The right to privacy will be viewed as a historically-interesting extravagance in the future. It's only a matter of time until possession of encrypted data is viewed as "probable cause."

Maybe we'll still have privacy for those of us willing to skip out on a few useful things (e.g. medicine, travel, food, energy, shelter).

Fear is a far more powerful weapon than reason.

Bio-metrics? (1, Funny)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384398)

I prefer bio-imperials, thankyouverymuch.

More of the same gruel (2, Insightful)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384402)

People missed the primary core part of this. If you have to take biometrics on entry, that means your own citizens as well as visitors. The EU biometric stuff has been going on for some time. Its all explained or hidden away in various guises but its there.

The 'Empire' is slowly moving from Utopian Europe to a darker phase.

And yes, I know, I know, if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. Only these people love to create new things wrong you may have done. In the UK now, if you smoke, drink, or happen to be fat, suddenly you've been added to the list. That autocratic disease is spreading.

You can bet your bottom dollar biometrics will be in the front line of 'taxing' holiday makers and frequent flyers, only the beginning off course - Plenty more to follow.

400 million WILL eventually regret allowing their leaders to create a new dictatorship, its just going to take time for people to wake up to the monster they have allowed to be created.

Re:More of the same gruel (0, Troll)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384930)

so, I'm just checking here,
is it ok to start shooting the bastards now?

long tradition (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385236)

The 'Empire' is slowly moving from Utopian Europe to a darker phase.

When was this "Utopian Europe" ever realized? In the 50's? In the 60's? In the 70's? Every decade has had its own paranoias and its own intrusion into civil liberties.

Nor is the concern about this new either. Look at all the dystopian SciFi from the 70's.

How can I fight this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384510)

I'm European, and I'm extremely concerned about this plan. I do not want to live in a part of the world where measures such as these are in place?

I've been rather apolitical for most of my life. I guess I need to change that.

How can I have the biggest impact fighting this?

Is this really practical? (2, Interesting)

cdf123 (623917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384576)

What happens if you burn your finger(s) on your vacation?

Biometrics sounds like a good idea, but I can never justify the single point of failure involved with it. It seems like it would be very easy to get false negetives.

I use usb keys to authenticate on my desktops, and if a key were ever to fail, i have a backup in the safe. The key responds to the encryption keys stored on the flash disk, and uses the serial number of the device as an added protection against copying. This is a simple setup of pam_usb and udev.

I do woodworking as a hobby, and occasionally cook. It's not uncommon to cut/burn a finger. Also with they usb keys I only have two, one on my key ring, and one in a safe. I don't leave my keys or my passwords lying around, but compare that to your fingerprint. How many places do you leave your fingerprint throughout a day? A google search, $20, and a trip to the hardware store is all you need to lift a print.

I hear a lot of people promote biometrics as a huge breakthrough in security, but I just don't see how it can be practical.

Just my $0.02

Re:Is this really practical? (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384960)

Well if you burn your fingers on vacation then you're obviously trying to hide something from mommy-government.
Of course there will be false negatives, arse-loads of them. They will, however, not get corrected because that would require these assclowns admitting they did something wrong. See, doing this with encryption keys, that might make an ounce of sense, but it doesn't help their real goal, which is and always has been control.

OH My God (1)

AssTard (684911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384632)

DAmn it, this goes against my god-given right to 100% total anonymity everywhere on earth! Damn it, damn it all to hell!!!!

Checking (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384880)

Go to France from the UK and the French don't really check the passport that hard, because they welcome your custom (same going the opposite way). The English give you the third degree on why you're leaving the cesspit of a country. They don't want you to spend your money abroad, they want to keep it in the UK where they can rip you off and have a shitty holiday.

The UK wants ID cards that will act as internal passports, and the EU are keen on the idea too. Don't forget the EU is just another Moscow Mk2, control over everyone.

I really wanted to see Europe... (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384886)

Great...no its on my "Do not go here - Fascism" list
When you add that to my "do not go here, crazy people" list I basically can visit.....Bermuda?

Stupid world...beautiful things barred from me because...
wait a minute...
if I ignore all of these stupid laws.
hell yes

What is the reason why ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385112)

No, I mean the real reason why this is happening, not the crappy ''we must be more secure'' line that doesn't really hold water for the cost/inconvenience/loss-of-liberty that is causes? We have lived quite happyily for years without this.

  • Because we can - we shall!
  • Convince the public that we are doing this in the name of their security - and get reelected
  • Because the security crowd (bureaucrats) needs to meet it's growth formula (see 'The Law' by C Northcote Parkinson)
  • 9/11 ... errm, something to do with that
  • We have got to do something with those shiny new computers that we want to buy
  • We are running out of data to loose on laptops - we need to gather some more
  • EU/USA/... pissing contest - see who can do more in the name of phony security
  • Why not - what have you got to hide ?

Lessons of history (3, Informative)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385246)

When the Nazi's were setting the ground work for their "final solution", they gathered census data starting in the early 30's.

The Hollerinth Tabulator machines streamlined the amounts of data that could be processed, thus they could ask more questions.

Some with insight, forsaw this increase is information gathering, and altered their answers to reflect a non-jewish ancestry.

However, they only needed 1 parent or grandparent to give the "correct" answer to link them to a Jewish ancestry(1/16th I believe).

Similarly today, there is little we can do. We are, as we would say in New Zealand, buggered.

We apologize deelpy. (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22385364)

For all the people outside the EU. I'm really sorry for this fast upcoming of paranoid behaviour of the EU. But you have to know you are really a threat to global security of you bring more than 100ml of water on a plane.

I'm really sorry. For years I think the US "security" policy sucks big time and now I see that the EU is doing the exact same thing. It really makes me sad.

Just visitors? Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22385422)

Don't forget that there are already countries in the EU that put their citizens' fingerprints in RFIDed passports. In 2009, all countries are supposed to.

In this regard, the EU is arguably ahead of the USA. Passports are only valid for five years so rollout will be faster too. Some countries already require everybody to carry government ID (same technology as a passport, just credit card sized) everywhere and fine 50 EUR on failure to present it on random checks, no cause required.

Me, I'm looking for backwater countries to emigrate to that will refrain from treating everybody, citizen and visitor alike, as criminals. I want a passport without RFID or biometrics beyond a picture and no requirement to have to show it for no reason. Any takers? Recommendations?

If I have to I'll lay my own undersea cable and start my own ISP there, too. *sighs dramatically*

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