[thechat] US criticised over Muslim checks

Drew Shiel ashiel at sportsinteraction.com
Wed Oct 2 11:34:00 CDT 2002

At 11:15 02/10/2002 -0500, Hugh Blair wrote:

>If having your picture taken (that's no different that
>photocopying your passport photo) and fingerprinting
>you is offensive, then don't subject yourself to it. If
>you have something to hide, this isn't the place for you.

   On simple reaction, I'd be even less happy about them photocopying my
passport. It's not that I have anything to hide - and were it necessary for
me to go to the US, I'd go through this without complaint (I'd complain
afterwards, no doubt, but that's cos I'm Irish. :) ). It's that I would
resent the implication that I, in particular, could have something to hide
over and above the person next to me. If they're going to do security
checks, they should do them on everyone. (I was horrified in Boston last
year, before 9/11, at the lack of security both entering and leaving the
US. I could have carried ANYTHING onto the plane.)

>If you have nothing to hide, then why would this offend
>you? I just smile and know that whatever record has just
>been generated will make it easier for me to get through
>the same situation again. My 2nd and 3rd times into China
>were a lot smoother. They looked up my record and knew
>that I was previously cleared. It's an inconvenience the
>first time, and although I don't like being held up, I
>just look at it as a small price to pay for clearing my
>person into a country.

   That's what entry visas are for.

>Oh, and you can always get a copy of your record by
>requesting it through a FOIA request.[2] How many other
>countries allow that? Hmmm?

   Most of the EU, I'm fairly sure. But it's not what information is there
that would worry me, but what it's being used for and who's seeing it. It's
been fairly well demonstrated that the US is willing to arrest citizens of
other countries for "crimes" committed in other countries, where the
actions in question are legal. I have no idea of US legal codes, and may
routinely break US law on a day to day basis.

>The US
>is about the most open country in the world.

   I beg to differ - you haven't gone through the rigmarole that entry to
the US requires for a non-citizen, and I can tell you that even before
9/11, there were more bureaucratic hoops to jump through than for entry to
Ireland, the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland or Greece. Including some
of the rudest officials I've ever encountered, although that's obviously
going to vary from person to person, and may well have been an isolated


Drew Shiel                               webmaster at swiftpay.com
Swiftpay -- The best way to pay online -- http://www.swiftpay.com

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