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30 September, 2004

'Security revolution'

Today's Guardian:

UK tourists to be photographed and fingerprinted as American authorities extend new airport arrivals procedures to all foreigners.
Needless to say, I'm totally opposed to this.  When I read it this morning, my gut desire was to cancel my trip to New York next month, but a) that's an overreaction, owing more to petulance than principle, and b) it's already paid for.
I'd object to the government of my own country recording my image and fingerprints - indeed, I do object to ID Cards - so I find it doubly galling to submit to the whims of some foreign regime to which I owe absolutely no allegiance.

I won't rant, honest. However, one rhetorical question: how does US law even permit this? The principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' is fundamental. If law enforcement agencies have a concrete, provable reason to track a specific individual, that's one thing, but contemptuously treating every visitor as a potential criminal, systematically recording personal details 'just in case', can only be adopting the diametrically opposite principle: 'presumed guilty until proven innocent'.

Speaking of presumption, I presume US visitors to the UK will be treated identically. No? Why not?

And no, this posting is not anti-American. I'd object to any regime attempting to make foreigners jump through hoops and show undeserved deference, as if it's a privilege to visit rather than a commercial benefit to the host nation.

Comments

I could not agree more! We seem to be putting our security measures into public areas where the most political gain can be made rather than areas where they can do the most good....

Please do not let this spoil your trip here! Please also remember that New York is not an indicator of what the rest of our country is like. New York carries the best and worst all condensed into a few square yards of real estate!

Are you coming on business?

Stay safe,
Don

Posted by Don Webb at September 30, 2004 04:35 PM
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