Wednesday, January 07, 2004

More on fingerprinting & photographing of visitors

Dick is worried about what the US authorities will be doing with his fingerprints when he visits the US. My immediate reaction is to say, "if you're worried about it don't go". Inside the Irish passport is a short note from the Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting "all whom it may concern to allow the bearer, a citizen of Ireland, to pass freely and without hindrance and to afford the bearer all necessary assistance and protection". The Minister does not ask that the foreign governments admit the traveler as one of its own citizens.

The passport's sole function is as a protection for the country that is being visited. The fact that modern technology has made forgery of passports too easy is the reason why further measures (such as fingerprinting and photographing visitors) is necessary.

Dick also asks why he as a journalist has to go through this when regular holiday visitors do not. Well, one reason I can think of is that journalists often have access to areas that your average tourist does not.

Lastly, Dick surely does not think that increased security measures as implemented by the US are comparable with what is clearly pettiness on the part of Brazil. Brazil may seem an unlikely source for Al Qaeda, but as I've highlighted before they do have such a problem.