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October 1, 2004

U.S. Started Fingerprinting All Visitors

Starting yesterday, all visitors to the U.S. (including the previously exempt people from the visa-waiver countries) are being fingerprinted and photographed under a new revision to the US-VISIT program. I guess there wasn't much fuss made over it or something since I hadn't heard anything about it until today (and I usually try to keep an eye out for stuff like this).

I sort of understood the previous requirement to fingerprint and photograph not so much as a criminal check but more of a biometric identification procedure. They fingerprint you at your home country when you apply for a visa and when you show up in the U.S., they fingerprint you again to digitally match you up with the visa to ensure that you are the same person who applied for the visa. Or at least that's how I understood it. And that made sense to me. But now, they are fingerprinting everyone, even those who don't need, and therefore didn't apply for, a visa. So what are they using the fingerprints for exactly? It's not to ID you to your passport. They are basically just going to compile a huge database of everybody's faces and fingerprints. Lovely. And you can be sure, despite whatever assurances they give, that the Department of Homeland Security will keep them all on file forever.

Luckily, Canadiana (and Mexicans) are still exempt. For now. Along with the Patriot Act, the U.S. is becoming such a hostile country to be in for visitors and its own citizens alike.

Filed Under: Travel