Saturday, April 03, 2004
With the exception of Canadians and some Mexicans with special permits, the US will now fingerprint and photograph all foreign citizens entering the country -- including Coalition allies UK, Australia, Spain, to name a few. The change will take place by the end of September and is aimed at increased control of who enters and exists its borders.

'The move comes as a response to the failure by European and other countries to issue new passports to their citizens that include a biometric identifier such as a fingerprint by an October 2004 deadline set by the US Congress. Virtually all European countries have said they will miss that deadline, and the US too has admitted it will not begin issuing such passports by October.

The US administration yesterday formally requested that Congress extend the deadline for two years. If Congress refuses, the US would be forced to issue visas to all travellers from visa-waiver countries, creating enormous backlogs at US embassies abroad.' (Financial Times)

The biometric passports that governments plan to move towards would include a computer-readable file that contains all of the passenger's bio and can be examined upon entry into any country. How much worse must things get before they get better? Will we ever return to a paranoia-free world?


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