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Do keeping accurate records make for better security

 
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The US have/will soon start finger-printing their visitors. Does this make for better security ?
I suppose carrying a security pass into work does add an element of security. But reading other blogs suggests otherwise.

Here are some comments:
"Illogical. An accurate record of who is coming in and leaving the USA will not make you more secure, any more than knowing precisely which flavour and manufacturer of boiled sweets entering your mouth will prevent tooth decay. The only way to prevent tooth decay is to not eat sweets in the first place."
"
I went to the bank today. My debit and ATM card had stopped functioning on New Year's Eve. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I must visit the bank to review my account because of "possible fraud".
I arrived at the bank and went to my banker's office. He saw me coming in and said "Hello, Mr. Paine, it's been too long." Once pleasantries were out of the way he asked how he could help me. I explained that my card had stopped working and that I had been informed over the phone that I would have to come in and look over my past transactions, that I would have to look for anything suspicious. That only then could my ATM card -- my sole link to cold, hard cash -- be reactivated.
So he pulled up my account on his computer and rotated the monitor so that we could both see the details of my financial life. He rolled the history back several months and, together, we set to find anything suspicious. As the pages -- the days -- rolled by on-screen I realized that these transactions, these little digital notes, brought back memories. There was that time, at that place, where I was with that person. It was all there, in green and black.
I mentioned to him that these transactions brought back memories. He gave me a knowing smile. He began to extrapolate details of my life, little vignettes, from the transactions on the screen. He said "So, here, on December 13. You get a cup of coffee with a friend. You head a few blocks away and get some Sushi. I hear that restaurant's good. Then you go and take in a show. Oh, here, yes. You have a couple drinks afterward."
I look at him, thinking. The man's right. That was, in fact, exactly what I did that day. As we flipped through the days we started examining Christmas shopping. He asked if the recipient of a particular gift had liked it. I said that she did.
This man, my banker, knows some very private details of my life. He knows where I eat dinner on a daily basis. He knows where I get my coffee. He knows what bars I go to, and when I go to them. He knows where and when I travel. He knows how long I spend in various places, he knows where I like to buy books. He knows that I have donated to political campaigns, he knows which campaigns, and he knows how much I have donated. [...]"
[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
HS Thomas
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Still Quoting :
"Up to 28 million visitors to the United States now have to stop for photographs and fingerprinting under a new government program launched Monday and intended to make it harder for terrorists to enter the country.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the new US-VISIT program applies to any visitors who must have a visa to enter the United States. By October, all visitors will be required to have a machine-readable passport or some other method of biometric identification, such as fingerprints or retina scans.
"As the world community combats terrorism ... you're going to see more and more countries going to a form of biometric identification to confirm identities," Ridge said.
Citizens from more than two dozen countries, mostly in Europe, aren't required to carry a visa if their visit is less than 90 days. Visitors from those countries are exempt. [...]
In reaction to the U.S. policy, Brazil last week began fingerprinting and photographing American visitors arriving at Sao Paulo's airport. Brazil's Foreign Ministry has also requested that Brazilians be removed from the U.S. list. [...]
CNN
This, together with the insane cancellation of flights means that anyone wanting to hold an international conference will put the america LAST on the list of candidate host countries.
Why on earth should representatives going to any conference for any reason allow themselvs to be delayed and then photographed an dfingerprinted like criminals when the same event with identical facilities can be held, for example, in Toronto or Vancouver Canada, where you are treated in a civilized way?
It cant be long before we hear about the effect this is happening...
Yay once again to Brazil for retaliating."

[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
The US have/will soon start finger-printing their visitors. Does this make for better security ?


It certainly doesn't hurt. Itcertainly makes it easier to track people in this country illegaly. For example, a student who doesn't leave when his visa is expired. It also makes it possible to quickly see if a person is in a database of known criminals. Of course, the effectiveness of that particular database at the present time may be debatable, there is no doubt that over time such a database becomes more and more effective. Additionally, in the event of a criminal/terrorist act commited by a foreign visitor, we now have that much more info to determine who it was excactly that may have committed the act.

I suppose carrying a security pass into work does add an element of security.


Sure it does, particularly when your card must be pssed through a reader and an individual code must be entered before access may be made.

"Illogical. An accurate record of who is coming in and leaving the USA will not make you more secure, any more than knowing precisely which flavour and manufacturer of boiled sweets entering your mouth will prevent tooth decay. The only way to prevent tooth decay is to not eat sweets in the first place."


A horrible analogy, and not really one that stands up to scrutiny. Access control is the most basic of security procedures.

This man, my banker, knows some very private details of my life.


If this is a concern to this gentleman, maybe next time he will pay in cash.
 
Jason Menard
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If that's what Brazil wants to do, let them. Unlike us however, they are targetting only a specific country with their "security measures". If we were to only target certain countries, we would likely be accused of racism or some such nonsense.
In any event, I find it sadly amusing. Who do you think is going to be hurt more by lack of the other's tourist dollars? The VISIT system is meant to cause little if any inconvenience to the traveller, and is supposed to only take a few seconds, quite unlike Brazil's plans. Additionally, our system is not meant to target any country in particular but applies to almost all foreign visitors who enter this country (with a couple of exceptions), whereas their childish actions are merely telling us they don't want Americans in their country.
 
HS Thomas
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How difficult is it to get someone else's finger print grafted on a terrorist's finger ?
Back of the hand veins supposedly provides more accurate identification but even that can be altered if someone's that determined.
"BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal judge's order to fingerprint U.S. visitors in retaliation for new U.S. anti-terrorism controls is popular on the nation's streets but is straining diplomatic relations with the United States.
Brazil's center-left government, while not shy of confrontations with Washington, met on Monday to consider revoking the order by Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva after receiving complaints from the U.S. Department of State.
Ordinary Brazilians, tired of struggling for visas to enter the United States and tough checks when they arrive, supported the order to "reciprocate" a new U.S. system to fingerprint and photograph visitors who need a visa to enter the United States.
One newspaper survey showed 98 percent in favor of the identical controls on U.S. visitors, which began Jan. 1.
After a successful 2003 White House meeting with President Bush, and advances in global trade talks, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signaled he may not want to waste bargaining power on the issue.
"We are looking at the consequences of this order," said a foreign ministry spokesman, adding that the government could appeal the ruling in Brazil's justice system.
The United States has cheered Brazil's new role as a leader of poor nations, even though Lula's one-year-old government is leading them in a fight against U.S. farm trade barriers.
Indeed, former factory worker Lula was welcomed at the White House for his push to cut global hunger, even though he says the world must fight terrorism with food, rather than bullets -- a subtle criticism of the U.S. war on terror.
Washington has been upset by Brazil's tit-for-tat reaction to the US-VISIT system that went into force Monday with digital technology after a year of preparation."

"U.S. travelers have complained of up to nine-hour delays at Rio de Janeiro airport where Brazilian immigration authorities, only told of the order last week, are using inkpads and paper.
"We regret the way in which new procedures have suddenly been put in place that single out U.S. citizens," said a statement by the U.S. embassy in Brazil. "Brazil is not being singled out."
Brazil's government has tried to make it clear the move to fingerprint and photograph all U.S. visitors is the decision of a 34-year-old regional federal judge, not foreign policy.
"The risk is that all of a sudden you begin to erode a very privileged bargaining power with the United States," said Mario Marconini executive director of the Brazilian Center for International Relations in Rio de Janeiro"
 
HS Thomas
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Even with the security pass checks at work we are still warned never to leave cash and property behind/in sight/unlocked if stepping away from desks for 10 minutes.Still , it does keep most looters out.
 
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Personally if I thought by going to America I would be fingerprinted when I get there I probably wouldn't go. It's basically being treated like a criminal. Now if it was a national thing that everyone in the country was fingerprinted then it wouldn't be so offensive, but to be singled out is basically being treated like a criminal. If it was resitrcted to people who had been convicted of a crime then that might be OK too but as it stands everyone who has ever been arrested will need to be fingerpritned, even if charges were never filled or they were equitted. The same sort of thing has happened in the UK where you're fingerprinted if you are arrested and the police can keep your fingerprints even if your not charged or convicted. I think this kind of treatment is pretty poor.
 
Jason Menard
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The fingerprinting is done electronically, not with ink and paper. BWI airport right down the road from me was one of the test-beds and testing has been going on for the last year. By all reports the system is relatively unobtrusive, and there have been no reports published of major complaints or delays as a result of the system.
 
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Tim Baker:
The same sort of thing has happened in the UK where you're fingerprinted if you are arrested and the police can keep your fingerprints even if your not charged or convicted. I think this kind of treatment is pretty poor.

When I was in college I worked for the Post Office during Christmas vacation. (Good money, boring job.) In order to get the job I had to be fingerprinted. My fingerprints are in the national registry of fingerprints. I certainly don't care.
I remember back in the early 80's when I visited London everyone at the airport had to be searched by security. I would much prefer having been fingerprinted than having some guy pat me down.
 
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I believe all applicants to become policemen are fingerprinted. I have been fingerprinted a few times as required when applying for concealed handgun carry permits.
The idea of a national identity card keeps coming up; many Americans recoil in horror at the notion. But really, our concept of privacy was based on the idea of small government; one cannot involve the government in minute details of our lives without giving it the authority for surveillance. A government that has the power to do things _for_ us must of necessity have in equal measure the power to do things _to_ us.
It's pretty hypocritical the way some people claim that the government cannot be trusted with knowing what books you read and which people you talk to, but then call us paranoid for not wanting the government to keep track of which firearms we own.
[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
 
HS Thomas
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I would much prefer having been fingerprinted than having some guy pat me down.


You and your baggages will be scanned these days.
Biometric information needs regular updates as well. I had to update my signature at the bank recently. Pretty sure fingerprints don't stay the same over time either, as I've never heard that it has been used in forensic evidence decades later. Retinal scans may stay the same for longer.
Some contractor is getting a commission per swipe IMO.
[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
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You can get the money out and spend cash. If you're carrying a live cell phone they know where you are in real-time. I will support you when they get around to eliminating cash.
Can you really blame the government? I suppose if we had decent security at the airport before 9/11 it would have taken longer. But someday somebody was/is going to steal a jet and use it as a missle. Don't blame Tom Ridge. OSB is the bad guy.
Although I don't have many good suggestions on how OSB could better make his point. I wonder how many people can buy $1000 a plate dinners and the like. I certainly could sympathize with somebody who felt they had no voice in the course of human events.
 
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Originally posted by Tim Baker:
Personally if I thought by going to America I would be fingerprinted when I get there I probably wouldn't go. It's basically being treated like a criminal.


One get finger-printed when one applies for permanent residence (green card) and for citizenship in US. That is not being treated like a criminal. The official (at the police station) who took my print over a decade ago did not treat me like one. I certainly didn't feel like a criminal.
Finger-printing to weed out terrorists (as is the stated objective of this new measure) will only if a known, previously finger-printed terrorist tries to enter US at one of these airports. Otherwise it won't. From that POV this finger-printing will not help.
If an unknown terrorist gets through this process and enters US, commits an act of terror in US & is subsequently (if he hasn't blown himself up in the process) arrested, then most likely that terrorist will get the death penalty instead of getting deported. In this scenario too this process of finger-printing and letting the database grow won't help. If he is never captured and leaves the country & enters again, then unless he was a suspect for the previous act of terror, he will again be allowed to enter.
So, IMO, this new measure by Homeland Security, won't help much. It certainly doesn't make me feel any more secure than I was before.
 
Jason Menard
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"WorldCitizen",
Your display name is in violation of JavaRanch's naming policy. Please change your display name in order to comply with this policy. Thanks in advance.
[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Pretty sure fingerprints don't stay the same over time either, as I've never heard that it has been used in forensic evidence decades later.

Actually, finger prints never change. I was watching one of theose "cold case" shows and they caught a guy for murder 20 years later based on a fingerprint because the guy had applied for federal job and ended up in the national registry.
 
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