Personally, I don't see this as an "outrage", but whatever. If you do, maybe you should petition your country to do as Brazil has done, turn the tables on Americans.
To enter I had to pay the visa equivalent of what the US charges Brazilians - US$150. Then at a small border crossing I was fingerprinted (with blue ink) and then they had to track down somebody in town with a digital camera to photograph me holding a white placard with my visa number on it; a la a prison mugshot. The whole process took almost an hour. It was kind of a pain in the ass, but in the end, I found it kind of humourous and even asked the guys if they would email me the picture. They never did, but they were friendly enough.
I guess you just have to pick the things in life you're going to let get to you. I choose for that to not be one of them.
Sorry, this post will be a tad long because I feel strongly about this issue. I agree with John. Don't let it spoil your holidays.
If you want to visit the US, fingerprinting/iris scanning and whatever else their government chooses to do is something that you will have to put up with. It's no use stewing about it and getting your knickers in a knot because let's face it, there's not a lot you can do about it...except to cross America off your holiday list and visit other countries whos practices don't offend you. The reason they are doing it is inconsequential really, they have the right and nothing anyone says or does will change that. If you don't cooperate with them, you'll probably be denied entry.
I just got back from the US and I was fingerprinted again for the umpteenth time and was asked to 'look directly into the camera'. I don't know if the camera thing is for an actual photo or iris scan. I was never required to hold up a number while I was being photographed. The customs officer was pleasant enough...he was doing his job. You can't blame someone for doing his/her job unless they are rude or obnoxious of course, and then I believe you have an issue. He explained that the 'last' fingerprint and photo that they have of you is compared at that very moment to the last one they have on record. Sounds like a simple concept to me...trying to ensure that you are who you are. If it will deter terrorists, I'm thankful they are actually doing something to try and prevent another attack, especially while I am a guest in their country. Personally I like to keep myself as safe as possible on foreign soil and will take all the help I can get.
Just think about all the tourists/visitors/citizens that never made it home on 9/11. Perhaps more security could have prevented it, perhaps not, we'll never know. At that time no one was expecting an attack, let alone an attack as horrific as that one and everyone was caught unaware. It was a life altering experience for me to see all that carnage...something I would rather forget but I don't think I ever will. I hope their security system works to prevent it from ever happening again.
So, if you are sure (or even think) that fingerprinting/iris scanning/photographing etc. is an invasion of your privacy, or that the US government is doing it just because they want to track your every move, then I would suggest that you not go to the US. Go somewhere that makes you happy. Life is way too short to let someone else make you miserable.
But there IS something we can do and that's stand up against it. Is it not obvious to you that iris scans, fingerprinting, ID cards are not going to deter terrorists. According to all evidence, the US knew perfectly well how many people were training to become terrorists and even flew the bin laden family out of America with no questions asked after 9/11. I have the greatest sympathy with all of the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives on that day, but I believe these measures are merely a front to show joe public that something is being done. It's certainly deterred me from visiting again.
Sander's point is unfortunately indicative of the general populous (and I don't like generalising). Sander says he hopes people stand up to this system - but not him because he's a frightened sheep. If everyone takes Sanders view then the world will go to pot and we'll ALL be sheep. I'm not slagging Sander because I believe he has made some really valid posts and is always on point with the comments but if everyone stands back and allows their liberties to be taken away with them, all the while moaning but not doing anything, then we will all be a bunch of moaning, yet compliant, citizens! People need to stand up if they believe things are wrong. The way society is these days, people are too afraid to defy convention and break away from the flock, but look at what it has brought in the past... womens liberation, the black vote, the end to apartheid. Imagine if everyone of these groups just sat back and took the viewpoint that Sander notioned towards? I'm not saying that people on here who enter the US and get iris scans/fingerprints/CCTV everywhere are akin to those who fought for womens liberation or the end to apartheid, but I think you get my jist.
I'm totally against all this monitoring. The UK government are going ahead with ID cards and I think it's a total farce. Never has a government plan run on time or on budget, and it's us the taxpayer that will have to foot the bill. Also, it's not unlikely that the company producing these cards will have some sort of link with the Labour party. If the government want it so much why can't they foot it? My bet is that within weeks of the ID card scam coming in, a tabloid rag manages to forge one of them.
As a US citizen, I have mixed thoughts about the fingerprinting procedure. (But, I also have not been fingerprinted since I was 16 and helped turn a VW Beetle sideways in a grocery parking lot spot.) I do think you should consider yourself lucky, Janine, in the fact that you were told beforehand that you would be printed. Most visitors find that out upon arrival. It has given you time to decide if you really want to visit the US or alter your plans.
If it were most any other administration requiring this procedure, I might just agree with the reasoning behind it. But, with the current one - it leaves room for concern. I agree with Sander, that someone has to stand up and be counted as a (polite) no vote to fingerprinting. Where there is one, there are others who will follow. You will have to decide how important it is to make that statement, as they may just put you back on a plane to the UK or OZ. (They can send you back to the country where you are a citizen, rather than the country in which you currently live.) You also need to consider the importance of your visit here.
Realize, for every visitor who refused to be printed, there will be (at least) one who will agree. The tourist trade will not suffer because of this practice. Also realize that a vast majority of Americans do not even know that fingerprinting is being performed. But, once informed about it, they will (follow like sheep and) agree that it is a good thing because it is keeping them safe from terrorists (trademark). That thinking is slowly changing but it will take time and another election.
If you do decide to visit the US (and be fingerprinted in the process), keep in mind that the people you will meet here are not the ones who did the printing. They probably don't even know it was happening.
Thanks for all reponses. I am glad I am not the only one that finds it unacceptable...your rights get slowly erroded away sometimes without anyone noticing until it's too late to do anything. Sadly it seems to be happening all over the world. Funny how we, as a species fight over the boundaries & differences we create ourselves - geography & religion for exanple. That is one of the things that makes this site so good it's a chance for people from different loactions with different beliefs & backgrounds to express themselves.
I was going to States to catch up with friends I haven't seen for a while but I am re-considering. I know they will be understanding as they know me & my ideals very well. Hopefully we can catch up in Central America.
I hope they let me back in UK without too much hassle!
For those who celebrate it - Happy Easter & for those that don't have a bl00dy good weekend
I just want to say that those few of you who take this so casually should go buy the book or DVD "1984" and see how life becomes when every move you make is watched over by "BIG BROTHER". How do you think it happens? Overnight? I don't think so, it's a slow process done one step at a time. They already have body scan machines at the airports in the USA which basically see through your clothes. You want some minimum wage retard checking out your body parts? Next they'll be sticking their fingers up your ass - to all you "casual heads" that posted before me, will that too be alright? Just go with the flow? It's ONE SLOW STEP AT A TIME... that's how this crap works. As an American citizen I say , screw it, don't come here. The Government will drop this fingerprint Bullsh*t in a second as soon as too much tourist money is lost. Visit the countries in Europe, Asia, and South America that have true freedom, not the US bullsh*t version. And PLEASE don't call Bush "Mr President" cause he's not (Not when you steal elections), He's our RETARDED COWBOY and lets hope he rides off into the sunset before he blows up the planet. Hopefully after the next Presidental election in November 2008 it will be safe to visit the sane America again (because right now nothing but insanity rules around here) Zoom
I tend to agree with the points you make Zoom, but was there any need to use the word RETARD? Also, you make real good points but do you think that it's going to calm down in 2008? I personally can't see the US Presidency (whoever it is) calming down and removing the retinal scans and fingerprinting, can you? It's just getting worse.
For the first time Zoom I agree with you and I think you echoed what I mentioned about Sander's post, which is that people need to step up and say NO. As you quite rightly (very forcefully, mind) state, this all happens slowly and is a gradual erosion of our liberties. I am very knowledgable with the text and underlying tones of 1984 and it seems that people these days (as I mentioned in my last post) are so apathetic and will moan when things are not right but will not stand up to them.
What's happening in the Western world is a gradual erosion of our civil liberties and Zoom is dead on with his points. By the way Zoom, I understand your need to be so forceful - I feel strongly about it and some people need to be shouted at to WAKE UP! haha.
Related to this subject, btw... Our fingerprints and mugshots are processed through PCs running Windows 2000 (!), via some route accessible through the internet, and so insecurely maintained that these computers were infected by Zotob (a virus that was running around last year). And it took a lawsuit to get that information out. (url=http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70642-0.html]source[/url])
Can you imagine the treasure-trove this system is for identity thieves? Wow... (My thumbprints don't yet identify me anywhere, but I'm sure as hell going to try my utmost to keep it that way.)
source (*mutters something beneath his breath about an edit function*)
If uve got nothing to hide then why should it matter?
This is one of the worst logical fallacies, and it scares me that more and more I see it uttered completely serious whenever privacy is debated.
First, to get Godwin out of the way (he was invoked since the first post anyway) - the jews had nothing to hide.
Maybe I have to hide that I disagree with the current government. Maybe I have to hide that I went to a protest against that government. Maybe I want to get into politics myself later. Maybe I have to hide from an ex-wife and her divorce-lawyer, Maybe I have to hide from a stalker. Maybe I have to hide from blackmail by corrupt government officials, maybe...? (Everyone is a criminal to some degree.)
Sander thank you very much for refuting this so-called "thinking".
It is chilling what is happening in the world today; 'right' is fast becoming wrong and the USA is fast becoming(?) a police state.
There is a saying, variously mis-quoted and mis-attributed, which goes something like this:
First they came for the communists and I did nothing because I wasn't a communist
Then they came for the Jews and I didn't object/do anything because I wasn't Jewish
Next they came for the Gypsies and I didn't object because I wasn't a Gypsy
Then they came for the unionists and I didn't aobject because I wasn't a untionist.
Next, they came for me, and there was no-one left to object.