I agree with you the fingerprinting is overboard. I also feel I’ve given up way too much privacy since 9-11. But that’s an opinion better left for the P&R forum. I travel a lot for work. As an American it surprises me how easy it is to travel everywhere else but here.
I just watched a news segment which shows peeps getting FINGERPRINTED before they are allowed to enter the JOO ES OF EH.
Yup, travelled to the US three times in the past year, always had the pleasure of leaving my fingerprints behind.They also have these nice littles cameras to take a photo of you. On my third trip, the guy in charge looked at my passport suspiciously and said:
“… so, you’ve been here quite a few times in the recent past…”
I thought “Uh oh?” and mentioned that I wanted to visit some friends.
He then asked me how I “want to meet” my friends. Seriously, not whom or when. No idea how I could have answered that one other than “Well, I’ll meet them at some place.” because you certainly wouldn’t travel to the US for a phone chat. And since these guys usually aren’t up for jokes, I just responded that. He then went “Hmmmm” and put the stamp into my passport.
I read an article about the negative impact of how Homeland Security has handled post-9/11 airport security. 200,000 jobs lost, billions of tourism dollars lost, yadda, yadda.
To counter this Homeland Security is now training their officials to be kinder and gentler to tourists entering US customs while still trying to maintain a high level of securityu (“would you like fries with your Bigmac?”). They are also pushing educational videos on what not to do when going through US customs to make the waits shorter as well as other educational media to promote tourism into their country.
A little too late? Should they not have considered this counter-response to the heavy handed security approach 6 years ago?
I’ve heard of people being denied entry to the States (from Canada) because the customs officer used a google search to turn up anti-American rants from individuals… might not be a good idea to joke about bombs :)
But yeah, I get the fingerprint treatment; it doesn’t really bother me, though, because they’re pretty quick about it.
Maybe he got that question from the procedures booklet he skimmed through . There’s the off chance that somebody might actually answer that with, “I’ll meet them in the afterlife after this bomb explodes, that’s how!”.
What I really think is going on is that these guys just enjoy messing with people. The folks at my local Taco Bell also like screwing around with customers, and their job is more important.
Canadians are definitely exempt from this. I’ve travelled to and from the US by air many times in the last few years, and I’ve yet to be fingerprinted. In fact, at the Miami airport, there were signs that specifically stated that Canadians were exempt from the fingerprinting.
You also typically pre-clear customs here in Montreal, and the Homeland Security people don’t do the picture taking/fingerprinting thing to Canadians.
Anyone else witnessed the “No cell phones in the international inbound screening area” shakedown team in O’Hare or JFK airports. I swear I thought they were going to tackle a guy that started talking last time I was at JFK.
I’m assuming this is to prevent some super-secret detonation of a bomb or something similar but I’ve not seen it outside the US.
I find the no cell phones policy at that pissant airport with the gigantic queue whenever I go to vegas for CES really annoying. And I don’t like the fingerprinting and photo and the atmosphere all this creates.
But I must say that the people doing the actual processing has been really nice - one even welcomed me in passable Danish.
But I go out of my way (London) to catch a direct flight, so I don’t have to change planes in another US airport because of all this.
(and yes, cavity search is a distinct possibility)
This thread reminds me of the West Wing episode where Toby is flying and asked by an attendant to stop using his cellphone:
Toby: “We’re flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line twenty months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system, and you’re telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?”