Friday, Oct 31, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Sridhar Krishnaswami
The system coming into effect on January 5 in 115 airports will see scanning equipment fingerprinting and digitally photographing visitors as they pass through the Immigration counter.
The biometric identifiers will be cross-checked against a watchlist of terrorists.
The visitor will be asked to place one index finger and then another on a glass plate which will electronically capture the two prints; and a digital photograph will be taken while the fingerprinting is taking place.
The whole process is expected to last "only seconds in most cases", a fact sheet of the Department says.
While leaving the U.S., visitors will again go through the inkless system at exit `kiosks'. The Department is insisting that the travel data will be "securely stored and is made available only to authorised officials and selected law enforcement agencies on a need-to-know basis". But critics have questioned if the new process will deter terrorists or will merely be yet another effort by the federal government to gather more data on those coming for tourism, social visits, study or work.
The system is a part of the new U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology U.S.VISIT.
The U.S. Congress had mandated the Department to put in place the new system in phases.
Due to heavy traffic at land crossings and high costs, the system will not be pressed into service there until 2005 and 2006. The programme received $380 millions in fiscal 2003 and $330 millions for fiscal 2004.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of