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"I need your finger-prints before you get a BP"

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ATA takes issue with DHS plan to get passengers' biometric data (05/14/2007)

By Michael Milligan

WASHINGTON -- The airlines are at odds with the Dept. of Homeland Security over a government plan to require the carriers to collect biometric data, such as digital fingerprints, from international travelers.

James May, president of the Air Transport Association, a trade group representing the major airlines, sent a letter on May 8 to the Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism office in the White House blasting the DHS plan, which had been floated the previous day. May also requested a meeting with Frances Townsend, the head of the office.

In the letter, May argued that the plan to shift biometric data collection to the airlines would "wrongly delegate an inherently governmental, immigration and security-related function to the private sector."

At issue is a DHS effort to beef up a 3-year-old pilot program called US-VISIT, which collects biometric data from foreign visitors.

Under that program, inbound visitors at U.S. airports and other points of entry are digitally photographed and fingerprinted at special kiosks. The resulting data are later matched against DHS' own database to verify international travelers' identity.

Digital fingerprints are also collected when the traveler exits the U.S.

However, travelers only are asked to provide the data on a volunteer basis.

Consequently, the DHS said, while the US-VISIT biometric technology "works," there has been a "low traveler-compliance" rate.

To boost the rate, the DHS wants to integrate the program into the overall check-in process at the airline ticket counter, and that has the airlines fuming.

In a separate government-issues brief prepared for its members, ATA said the "DHS has been unmoved by the industry's assertion that the check-in process of today is continuing to evolve and move away from the airport environment."

The ATA said airlines "have invested significant resources in streamlining procedures, reprogramming and implementing processes to facilitate passenger processing to bypass traditional ticket counter check-in. If the DHS mandates that the airlines collect biometrics during the check-in process in order to satisfy the requirements [for US-VISIT], it will be a costly and time-consuming move backward."

Instead, the airlines contended, the Transportation Security Administration should be made responsible for the collection of biometric data.

"Passenger screening is a process over which TSA has complete control," the ATA said in the brief. "Adding biometric information collection to that process can be accomplished seamlessly."

Nonetheless, the DHS said it intended to soon publish a regulation outlining its plans for implementing the strategy.

To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to mmilligan@travelweekly.com.

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The bushites are so squeamish they will never agree to that.

As with all invasive programs this one will be sold as "It's only them foreigners that have to comply". The program will go ahead because it does not affect 'Us Americans'.

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The bushites are so squeamish they will never agree to that.

As with all invasive programs this one will be sold as "It's only them foreigners that have to comply". The program will go ahead because it does not affect 'Us Americans'.

Just one more reason to spend any vacation dollars elsewhere. I love the ad's in the paper to draw Canadians to the state's, you just have to give us your first born when crossing the border.

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The bushites are so squeamish they will never agree to that.

As with all invasive programs this one will be sold as "It's only them foreigners that have to comply". The program will go ahead because it does not affect 'Us Americans'.

Just one more reason to spend any vacation dollars elsewhere. I love the ad's in the paper to draw Canadians to the state's, you just have to give us your first born when crossing the border.

I will not go to the US unless I have to.

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Don't we basically provide this stuff for a Nexus card? And those new expedited security cards?

This is something you'd do by choice to get one of these cards.

True. However, I still believe that anyone wishing to enter any country should be required to undergo whatever entry requirements that country sets...if you don't like it, then don't go. Countries should know exactly who's living there and who's visiting. Otherwise how can you claim sovereignty which is the basis of any nation?

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True. However, I still believe that anyone wishing to enter any country should be required to undergo whatever entry requirements that country sets...if you don't like it, then don't go. Countries should know exactly who's living there and who's visiting. Otherwise how can you claim sovereignty which is the basis of any nation?

They could have cards with 2 parts, each with the same bar core (or serial number or whatever) so that they can track who is in the country without resorting to fingerprints. They'd just have to collect the 2nd part when someone leaves the country.

As for sovereignty, the government of Canada probably isn't sure of how many people there are in Canada that are on expired visas, there is just no way to check if someone left or not. Though I don't feel like the sovereignty of Canada is threatened.

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True. However, I still believe that anyone wishing to enter any country should be required to undergo whatever entry requirements that country sets...if you don't like it, then don't go. Countries should know exactly who's living there and who's visiting. Otherwise how can you claim sovereignty which is the basis of any nation?

They could have cards with 2 parts, each with the same bar core (or serial number or whatever) so that they can track who is in the country without resorting to fingerprints. They'd just have to collect the 2nd part when someone leaves the country.

The card with the "2 parts" is already implemented in Japan whereas you fill out the immigration form and they keep the long part and staple the short stub in your passport along with a stamp that is cool looking into your passport. Now they know who has overstayed and such thanks to the passport control before leaving for the gate.

Sanosuke!

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Went into Switzerland last weekend (dare not use the airport acronym I did in a previous thread to avoid setting off another debate :wink: ). Going into the country they just read the front cover of my passport and didn't bother to open it. Leaving the country they opened it to the information page and closed it really quickly.

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Don't we basically provide this stuff for a Nexus card? And those new expedited security cards?

This is something you'd do by choice to get one of these cards.

True. However, I still believe that anyone wishing to enter any country should be required to undergo whatever entry requirements that country sets...if you don't like it, then don't go. Countries should know exactly who's living there and who's visiting. Otherwise how can you claim sovereignty which is the basis of any nation?

The existing US VISIT program all ready covers the above noted entry requirements. CBP gets finger prints and pictures upon entry into the USA by Air. The USA knows who is entering their country.

The problem (from a DHS perspective) is the exit requirement. Foreign Travellers subject to finger print and picture scan are requried by the US VISIT program to see a kiosk (usually located around the boarding lounges at international gates) and go through the process upon exit. However not many individuals do this type of screen.

DHS could implement exit requirements like Japan and Australia. Set up a CBP guard process to replicate the entry requirements. DHS doesn't want to go this route as it is very cost prohibitive (capital costs to reconfigure airports and expand some international terminal facilities, operating costs to hire more CBP officers, etc).

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Is this not consistent with the entry requirement? How else can a country keep track of those over staying their visas? It used to be more common in Europe and the UK to have an exit review by an immigration officer, and this never created problems or concerns. Not sure why it was eliminated other than for cost reasons?

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Is this not consistent with the entry requirement? How else can a country keep track of those over staying their visas? It used to be more common in Europe and the UK to have an exit review by an immigration officer, and this never created problems or concerns. Not sure why it was eliminated other than for cost reasons?

Flying out of Narita in April , it took 30 minutes to clear outbound immigration.

Never created any problems??? :evil:

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Is this not consistent with the entry requirement? How else can a country keep track of those over staying their visas? It used to be more common in Europe and the UK to have an exit review by an immigration officer, and this never created problems or concerns. Not sure why it was eliminated other than for cost reasons?

Flying out of Narita in April , it took 30 minutes to clear outbound immigration.

Never created any problems??? :evil:

When in April was that? It took me just 10 min to clear passport control at Narita.

Sanosuke!

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Is this not consistent with the entry requirement? How else can a country keep track of those over staying their visas? It used to be more common in Europe and the UK to have an exit review by an immigration officer, and this never created problems or concerns. Not sure why it was eliminated other than for cost reasons?

Flying out of Narita in April , it took 30 minutes to clear outbound immigration.

Never created any problems??? :evil:

When in April was that? It took me just 10 min to clear passport control at Narita.

Sanosuke!

Saturday April 21 at around 9:00 AM.

10 minutes is still 10 minutes more than would be required via an automated system that linked to the manifest of international departures (since the airline checks you ID anyway).

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I left via Narita on the 12th of April and my flight was an evening one back to YVR.

Sanosuke!

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