Feeds

US wants all 10 fingerprints on entry

Surrender your digits

Security for virtualized datacentres

The US will increase the amount of information it holds on foreign visitors when it takes all 10 fingerprints from air travellers rather than the usual two.

Currently foreign travellers must have their index fingers scanned into a database when they enter the US by agents of the Department of Homeland Security. Those prints can then be checked against a database of fingerprints held by police forces or the FBI.

That number will increase to all 10 fingerprints on a trial at 10 US airports. It is planned that the programme will be in place in all airports in around a year, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

US authorities claim the current scan of two fingers takes around 15 seconds and that the new process will not take significantly longer than that. Tourism bodies in the US have expressed concern that such measures are harming the tourist trade, however.

"We applaud the US Senate for striving to fix a flawed travel system," Stevan Porter, chairman of the Discover America Partnership, told the Telegraph. The Discover America Partnership is a representative body for tourism bodies.

"The policies implemented over the past five years appear to have strengthened our security. Lost, however, were efficiencies and a semblance of customer service," Porter said.

There are already concerns in Europe about the amount and importance of data held by US authorities on European air passengers. The US has a less stringent privacy regime than Europe.

Airlines are currently forced to hand over 34 pieces of information about every passenger that travels to the US. Called Passenger Name Records, the information is transferred in line with a deal signed by the European Commission and US authorities.

The European Parliament has opposed the deal, though, and a new agreement is due to be signed later this year. An earlier agreement was deemed illegal by the European Court of Justice on a technicality, but a near-identical scheme was set up in its place.

The Department of Homeland Security is said to have arrested 1,800 suspects since biometric identification was introduced, but in order to do that they collected the fingerprints of 80 million passengers.

Visitor numbers from the UK to the US have dropped since 2001's terrorist attacks in the US and the security measures put in place in their aftermath. Around 4.7 million UK citizens visited the US in 2001, a figure that fell to 4.3 million in 2005.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.