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Flying To the US? Pay In Cash 452

Posted by kdawson
from the emerging-details dept.
pin_gween writes to point us to a report in the Telegraph that British travelers using a credit card to purchase their ticket may now have their credit card and email accounts inspected by US authorities. This has been true since October, when the US and the EU agreed about what information the US could demand from airlines and how this information would be handled. But details of the agreement only recently came to light following a Freedom of Information request. The US says it will "encourage" US carriers to reciprocate to any requests by European governments. From the article: "[T]he Americans are entitled to 34 separate pieces of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data... Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years...'It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US,' said [a human rights activist]. 'It is making the act of buying a ticket a gateway to a host of personal email and financial information. While there are safeguards, it appears you would have to go to a US court to assert your rights.'"
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Flying To the US? Pay In Cash

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  • Better yet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:26PM (#17423808)
    Just dont go to the US. Screw them and their 'information' requirements.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Looks as though the EU will have similar access on US citizens. The entire world is descending into fascist utopia created by government think tanks and multinationals.
    • Re:Better yet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by VJ42 (860241) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:20PM (#17424290)
      I decided not to go to the US ever since they started wanting my finger prints, and told me they'd smash locks on my suitcase in order to inspect it, so I shouldn't use them(If you want to look inside it, ask me and I'll unlock it, however I'm not going to let thieves have it easy). With Paris, Berlin, Rome, Prague etc. all under an hour away, and tickets from as little as 99p why should I spend my money in the US, when it's cheaper to fly to mainland Europe? Throw in the extra "Romance", History and Culture* of the major Europian cities what does the US have to draw my tourist £££s any more?

      *No offence meant, the US has it's merits and is unique in it's own way, but American culture is very different from European culture; When some one says "American culture", my first thought is of McDonalds if some one talks about "European culture" I think of the Renaissance. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just a very different one. As for History, this link sums up my thoughts: http://www.fatbadgers.co.uk/Britain/old.htm [fatbadgers.co.uk] ;)
      • Re:Better yet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wass (72082) on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:00PM (#17424736)
        No offence meant, the US has it's merits and is unique in it's own way, but American culture is very different from European culture; When some one says "American culture", my first thought is of McDonalds if some one talks about "European culture" I think of the Renaissance.

        This is a very common misconception amongst Europeans, that American culture doesn't exist beyond Walmart, McDonalds, and the Simpsons. Your statement is highly misleading because it looks at current American consumer companies while contrasting that to one of European history. For American culture in comparison to your European Renaissance comment, for example, you could consider the allure of the Wild West ("Cowboys & Indians", Dodge City and Boot Hill, railroads in the great westward expansion, etc).

        If you really want to consider American culture, how about American music (jazz, blues, country/western, bluegrass, soul, rap, hip-hop). And of course important American influences on rock&roll. How about American dance forms, which deviated from the formal ballroom dances of Europe with 'street dancing' (eg Swing in NYC in the 20's). And also American contributions (eg in Miami, NYC, and Puerto Rico) to Salsa and other Latin dance and musical styles. How about American contributions to literature, considering these American Nobel Laureates [yahoo.com] in literature.

        And of course there's a whole world of culture in the conflicts in American history. For example, with slavery and the Civil War, and the continuing struggle for Civil Rights including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the whole associated musical/dance/literary/art culture with this (eg, I'd highly recomend seeing Sweet Honey in the Rock [wikipedia.org] if you get a chance).

        I could go on and on. But long story short, anybody claiming that American culture doesn't exist is exhibiting an unfortunate ignorance which ironically is a common stereotype of how unworldly Americans are these days.
        • Re:Better yet (Score:4, Insightful)

          by VJ42 (860241) on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:33PM (#17425040)
          I apologise if I was misleading, I was just trying to convey a very general feeling. Of course the USA has it's cultural merits, the destruction of New Orleans in hurricane was akin to burning down the Louvre in that respect. My point was that we have so much more history packed into a much smaller area, and in much more unexpected places. The examples I gave in a sibling post were Bunhill cemetery [wikipedia.org] and this pub [wikipedia.org] from the 11th Century. The USA just isn't old enough to have places like them yet. No doubt in 800 years time you will have as many places of note, if not many, many more.

          As I said, no disrespect was meant I was just trying to point out I have so much on my "doorstep", that I'd never see it all, so why should I spend my tourist ££s in the USA if I'm going to be treated like a suspect before I even get into the country. The US needs people like me to spend money there; I don't need to spend my money in the US.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fermion (181285)
          You miss the point. The idea is that US culture is different enough from other cultures that it seems foreign. OTOH, many people in the US are culturally connected to European culture, so it is not so foreign, and is an enjoyable vacation for many.

          Let's take this a step further. There are places in South and Central America that are safe and closer to many in the United States. Yet many in the US still prefer to take the European vacation. Why? The European vacation just seems more normal.

          So lets

    • As one who is broadly (though not completely) supportive of the various efforts against terrorism and both current wars overseas, I actually recommend that you follow through with this, because the economic pressures brought to bear could be one of the few things that can reverse policies like this.

      We got through the Cold War not only maintaining but enhancing our rights as individuals and groups, knowing the KGB agents were in the country and planning (and perhaps even executing subtle forms of) sabotage.
    • Interesting how on Slashdot all you have to do is US bash to get a good mod.
    • You may have little choice if you're in the UK. That lovely treaty signed back in 2003 means you can be extradited to the US based on a hunch.
  • Just when paying? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GC (19160) <giles@coochey.net> on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:28PM (#17423826)
    Some airlines only allow you to do Online Check-in by confirming your identity with your credit card number.
    Some express-check-in's require you to either insert your credit card to get your boarding pass printed (or your frequent flyer card).
    If I want better fares by booking online I will have to use a credit card too, not seen any airlines accept Paypal etc...

    In short it seems that to take advantage of any fast-track system that saves on man-power and hassle for both the customer or airline I now have to give up my life's credit history.

    Glum.
  • Guess I'll be the lone dissenting view, here...

    Nothing is going to be "inspected" by US authorities, and if anything is "inspected", it's not at-will and not arbitrary.

    This is an agreement for mutual legal assistance, and is a framework for submitting legal requests and subpoenas for information about an individual via established legal channels, as well as guidelines information to which US authorities are entitled from EU air carriers.

    No one automatically has access to bank records or email accounts; a le
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anagama (611277)
      This is an agreement for mutual legal assistance, and is a framework for submitting legal requests and subpoenas for information about an individual via established legal channels, as well as guidelines information to which US authorities are entitled from EU air carriers.

      Sort of like how telephone calls can be monitored only if certain procedures are followed ... oh wait...
    • This is an agreement for mutual legal assistance,

      From the summary, it doesnt't look too mutual to me.

      It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US,' said [a human rights activist].

      I'd like to know if its only the UK doing this, or all EU states? I know Ireland has done some remarkable ankle grabbing in that field for the US lately, which is the target of an ongoing campaign to make people aware of it, but AFAIK the EU forbids transf

      • "Mutual legal assistance" [google.com] is a generic term for this type of arrangement, and doesn't speak to the balance of such agreements.
        • "Mutual legal assistance" is a generic term for this type of arrangement, and doesn't speak to the balance of such agreements.

          Oh, well that makes your post much more reasonable, then. Sort of a "glass beads for that island", type of an effort, eh? Your dissenting opinion is looking increasingly groundless.

    • Nothing is going to be "inspected" by US authorities, and if anything is "inspected", it's not at-will and not arbitrary.

      It's already inspected arbitrarily. The Patriot Act, and several later court decisions gives the US government the ability to read anyone's email at will. It would be nice if other governments did not help themselves in the same way, but they do. Princess Dianna's cell phone was tapped by the CIA ten years ago, do you really think your email is private? The criteria of inspection i

  • fly to canada (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:30PM (#17423840)
    Instead of paying cash, fly to Canada or Mexico and then take a ground route into the US...
    • Re:fly to canada (Score:4, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:36PM (#17424492)
      Instead of paying cash, fly to Canada or Mexico and then take a ground route into the US.

      as someone who lives on the U.S.-Canadian border. let me offer you some free advice: it ain't that easy. nothing is more likely to end in you spending some quality time with the friendly folks of the Border Patrol.

      • by claes (25551)
        How is the border between US and Canada surveilled? It has to be one the of the longest borders in the world.
    • by Bertie (87778)
      I did just that the last two times I travelled to the US (from London). Flew to Toronto because I was working just over the border, because I had friends there who I wanted to catch up with, and because it's generally a more interesting place to spend a bit of time than upstate New York, and then drove over the border.

      Boy, did those immigration idiots give us a hard time. We were ready for it - their obstinacy and general stupidity is well known. We turned up at the border with comprehensive details of w
  • by kimvette (919543) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:33PM (#17423858) Homepage Journal
    I would like to apologise on behalf of our idiotic politicians. Remember not all of us are Dubya-worshipping sheep, and that many of us think that American foreign policy is every bit as stupid as you think it is. Perhaps instead of visiting America and spending your tourist dollars here, you might decide to visit South America or Asia first, or perhaps Canada, and when you do write letters to politicians at the Federal and local levels here explaining that you really wanted to visit America, but cannot in good conscience spend your vacation dollars on a nation which is going backwards rather than forwards where civil and privacy rights are concerned, and you might want to voice your opinion on American-made goods as well. Dollars speak louder than anything else.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:23PM (#17424328)

      Dollars speak louder than anything else.

      No they don't. Votes do. And more specifically, votes in the middle of the country.

      • Ever been to the midwest? They have the nicest highways, "community centers", police and fire departments.
      • Farmers are paid to grow crops people will never eat; food is thrown away by the ton, or bought by the government to rot in warehouses (powdered milk is a great example. Google that one.)
      • Corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup has largely replaced sugar in much of America's "prepared" foods. It's horribly bad for you: because it's a slightly different sugar, your body's mechanisms for "I feel full" aren't triggered, and you over-eat.
      • 10% of every drop of gasoline you put in your car's tank is ethanol that is produced by the most wasteful, expensive method: corn. Brazil is producing huge amounts of ethanol off of sugar cane, which produces eight times more energy. You can't import Brazilian ethanol, though. US won't allow it, because it endangers corn-based ethanol.
      • Defense Department bases with little or no strategic value keep barely-educated young people "employed".
      • You have the midwest to thank for SUV emissions exceptions: it was originally intended for farm vehicles. Had midwestern senators voted for emissions standards that would force ma+pa kettle to dump $1k into their tractor so it doesn't spew nitrous oxide and unburned hydrocarbons- they would find themselves unemployed next election.
      • Midwesterners get hail that destroys their crops, and Uncle Sam is there to hand them a big fat check. Hail damages my house or destroys the car I need to use to get to work in the northeast, and Uncle Sam says "gee, sorry to hear that."

      Whoever brings home the most bacon and has "good old American [Christian] [family] values", gets votes. In the midwest, the government works for you. Everywhere else, you work for the government. The south is much of the same- the Tennessee Valley Authority? West and Northeast tax dollars giving southerners cheap electricity. Air conditioning is a luxury: heat in the wintertime in the northeast IS NOT. Guess what happened last year? Republicans drastically cut fuel assistance programs in the northeast.

      The majority of midwestern voters are ignorant and uneducated (especially in civics issues). Come election time, they don't give a damn about anything outside their town, or anyone except themselves and their family. Most of the reason they're all pissed off about the Iraq war now is because their sons and daughters are coming home in body bags. It has nothing to do with the fact that we arrogantly invaded a sovereign nation plunging it into a civil war...

      • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:55PM (#17424686) Homepage
        "Dollars speak louder than anything else."

        No they don't. Votes do. ...


        You are absolutely correct. ...And more specifically, votes in the middle of the country. [snipped long winded nonsensical attacks on midwesterners]

        Now you go off the deep end. As someone who has lived in dense urban areas of the east coast and the west coast I can testify that there is no shortage of dumb-ass sheep showing up at the polls, there is no shortage of pork projects (civil and military), etc. You merely seem to prefer your sheep of one political orientation over the other. Secondly, you seem woefully ignorant when discussing strategic military issues. Your suggestion that putting military assets in the middle of the country has no strategic value is nonsensical. The center of a nation *is* a strategic point, coastal assets are far more vulnerable. Finally, while pork projects certainly do exists bases in the midwest are not inherently pork. Coastal land has always been far more expensive to acquire, and selling such expensive land and relocating to inexpensive land makes financial sense. I'd say some local bases have stayed in coastal states as pork. In short, I think the pork is fairly evenly distributed across the nation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by phantomlord (38815)
        Here we go with the regular slashdot elitism...

        Ever been to the midwest? They have the nicest highways, "community centers", police and fire departments.

        Now... I don't live in the midwest, I live in a rural part of NY that is a lot like the midwest (7200ish people over 41 square miles). We have one new fire department, one remodeled fire department and one decrepit fire department. All are volunteer organizations and by virtue of not having a huge paid fire staff, the town can afford to put money int
        • farm subsidies (Score:3, Interesting)

          by falconwolf (725481)

          If we were to become entirely dependent on outside food sources, you'd see the same problems with food that we see with oil today. You want Mexico or Brazil to have that kind of control over us?

          This is exactly what is happening in Mexico, and why we have so many "illegal immigrants" trying to get into the US. Because of farm subsidies to big agrobusinesses in the US and NAFTA, they are able to ship and sale food to Mexico cheaper than Mexican farmers can grow it. This drives Mexican farmers off their f

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:33PM (#17423862)
    Paying in cash is a sure way to single yourself out for inspection. Few people pay with large sums of cash these days, and for good reason.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Paying in cash is a sure way to single yourself out for inspection. Few people pay with large sums of cash these days, and for good reason.


      I'd rather get physically searched for explosives than have my bank records searched. At least the physical search is open rather than covert and actually does something to prevent terrorism. Actually, the best solution would be not to allow any baggage and have baggage fly by separate pilotless airplane.


      -b.

    • by jabuzz (182671)
      Then again I am fly to the US in three weeks time for a skiing holiday, and I paid with a cheque or a check if you cannot spell :-). Why, well the holiday company wanted to make a 3% surcharge for paying by debit or credit card. It would have been the equivalent of 100USD so I told then to forget it and wrote a cheque instead.
  • by deicide (195) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:37PM (#17423906)
    Paying with cash is a sure way to attract more attention to yourself, not less. Don't be silly, government is not after you.

    Additionally, most credit cards provide with additional lost luggage and life insurance when you use them to buy your ticket.
  • Places to avoid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:42PM (#17423932)
    I try hard not to travel to countries such as North Korea and USA where there is a basic assumption that I am a criminal and not to be trusted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by VJ42 (860241)
      I don't know where you're from, but I think you should add my country, the UK, to that list. It's only when people stop coming to these shores due to overly restrictive laws will our government realise the real damage that it's doing to this country. We have to hit them where it hurts: in the pocket.
    • by westlake (615356)
      I try hard not to travel to countries such as North Korea and USA where there is a basic assumption that I am a criminal and not to be trusted.

      It is the basic assumption of the border guard or customs agent anywhere, anytime.
      You learn very quickly that you every reason to be cynical. I'm sorry, but that is just the way it is.

  • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:46PM (#17423962)
    I could be wrong ...

    But I thought the standard logic in Police States (we can argue whether the US is a Police state another time) was that if you were unwilling to lose your privacy you must have something to hide. Hypothetically speaking, if you (heaven forbid) were a minority which could perhaps be from a Terrorism supporting country and you payed by cash wouldn't that ensure that you got the long trip through security?

  • You tend to end up as the subject of a money laundering investigation. (He says having just been given £800 cash which he's somehow got to get into a bank account.)

    Having said which, I solve the original problem by simply choosing not to visit the USA. It's too much hassle, and there's plenty of other bits of world to go to.
    • You tend to end up as the subject of a money laundering investigation. (He says having just been given £800 cash which he's somehow got to get into a bank account.)

      If you're that worried, just spend it as is and the money never existed. Gradually spend the money on stuff like food and simply reduce your other expenditures.

      BTW, is the UK really that paranoid? I've got cash payments in excess of $1000 from business clients before and deposited them in the bank. As well as a graduation gift after

      • by jonbryce (703250)
        You are not allowed to accept cash payments of more than 15,000 Euros without doing lots of ID checks and registering them with the appropriate authorities - HM Revenue and Customs in the case of the UK.
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          You are not allowed to accept cash payments of more than 15,000 Euros without doing lots of ID checks and registering them with the appropriate authorities

          This is #800, though, which is approx 1600 Euros. Not even close. In the US, the limit is $10,000 - it's not that you have to register with anyone, but if you deposit more than $10,000 at once, it's reported to the IRS.

          -b.

      • by Tim Ward (514198)
        BTW, is the UK really that paranoid?

        Nah, not really, I exaggerate somewhat, a grand is no problem.

        But don't sell a house for cash and try to deposit it in a bank account!!
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          But don't sell a house for cash and try to deposit it in a bank account!!

          If someone wants to pay cash for a house, let *him* deposit it in his account and then do a wire transfer to yours.

          -b.

    • The AML triggers depend upon your profile at the bank. If you do a lot of cash business, say run a pub then no problem - it is in your KYC profile which identifies what is expected of you as a client. Note that if you want to bank such a payment, just think of a suitable excuse. Note that saying "I just sold x grams of coke" probably isn't a good idea. OTOH, saying that you sold something that you might be reasonably expected to posess such as a laptop is fine.
  • The UK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:48PM (#17423988) Homepage Journal
    Isn't the UK the nation that has video cameras monitoring the streets? Given it's pervasive CCTV surveillance of citizens, this news would seem like a breath of fresh enlightenment.

    p.s. For all you knuckleheads out there, I am not agreeing with this move! I'm only commenting on the irony of the UK bitching about it.
    • by goldcd (587052)
      we have CCTV in public places - this is based upon the obviously warped logic, that if you do something in a public place, then you shouldn't expect it to be private.
      In some places CCTV is going a bit far, but there are numerous occasions where it is a definite benefit. If you're wating for a taxi, withdrawing money from an ATM or merely just walking home alone late at night - then you're safer if there's a CCTV camera covering you and the possibility somebody's watching.
      In fact the more I think about thi
      • do you object to the police patrolling in public places?

        No I don't. I'm only stating the irony of the situation.
    • Amen and thank you. I get tired of the US bashing especially from the UK with their under the microscope approach to privacy.
      • by Attaturk (695988)

        Amen and thank you. I get tired of the US bashing especially from the UK with their under the microscope approach to privacy.

        Funnily enough "the UK" consists of more than one person. And much like the majority of Americans are actually far from being Bush'n'Cheney fans, few Brits are content with Blair's Britain. In case you missed the million people marching in protest through London over the Iraq invasion, we're quite content to bash our own Big Brother government too. Usually because of its submissi

  • by WeeBit (961530) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:48PM (#17423990) Homepage
    This is just one of the many things the USA does to violate your privacy. There are many top secret areas too. If you find checking emails and such appalling, just imagine what is never disclosed. Pity that they do this to their own citizens, and there is hardly anyone balking at this. Power grants you many things. All you have to do is make up a valid excuse and people will fall for it. Fools are plentiful in the USA, or their are plenty of blind eyes. The thing is none of them will balk about privacy issues until it happens to them. Then it's too late.
  • Isn't paying in cash and flying one-way into the United States supposed to be a red flag? They're sure are taking the fun out of being a tourist pretending to be a terrorist pretending to be a tourist.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Isn't paying in cash and flying one-way into the United States supposed to be a red flag?

      I don't understand why, either? Now that it's known that it's a red flag, any halfway competent terrorist would just buy a round-trip ticket with a credit card. Credit cards are not hard to come by, and what's an extra $500 if you're planning mass mayhem? Remember that Al Qaeda is pretty well funded...

      -b.

      • by norfolkboy (235999) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:38PM (#17424506)

        What's an extra $500 if you're planning mass mayhem
        Make that an extra few thousand dollars, naturally, if you're going to fly into a building, you might as well fly first class - it's not like you'll be around to settle the credit card bill.
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          if you're going to fly into a building, you might as well fly first class

          Not to mention that it's a shorter walk to the cockpit usually.

          -b.

    • by westlake (615356)
      Isn't paying in cash and flying one-way into the United States supposed to be a red flag?

      Before the ideologically motivated suicide bomber there was the insurance scam. The million-dollar payout on your accidental death.

      Cash and the One-Way ticket has raised red flags for the airlines since the 1950s.

  • by david.emery (127135) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:52PM (#17424018)
    People have to acknowledge that (1) transportation has proven to be the real Achilles's Heel of modern society, and (2) no one is forcing you to travel to the US.

    Now some of the government responses, both US and UK, have been very onerous. (Connected through Heathrow lately???)

    I for one will not let the threat of terrorism stop me from travelling. And if I'm travelling internationally, I fully expect that in exchange for entry to another country, I'll have to forgoe privacy, etc. It's part of the trade for living in the modern world.

    How many people who don't like these kinds of broad-band searches think that targeting/profiling is more acceptable?

        dave
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      (1) transportation has proven to be the real Achilles's Heel of modern society

      And it wasn't before 2001? Sure, there were hijackings, but nothing like 9/11! And something like 9/11 won't ever happen again - on 9/11 the passengers were complacent because they thought that it was a regular hijacking for ransom or transportation abroad - now that people remember 9/11, the next person to attempt to hijack a US plane will be beat to a bleeding crying pulp before the plane ever lands. Look at Richard "shoebo

  • Freedom of Information request

    Yup, i.e. you have to give them any information they request, for free, and congratulate them in the process.

    This payed-with-credit-card trouble is pretty wierd, sometimes you can read they think it's suspicious if someone is paying with cash, and sometimes that it's suspicious if someone pays with a card. And I guess if we'd ask which payment method is less suspicious, that would be the most suspicious.

    It's a wierd world. You'd go to some friends, family, a co
  • Workaround? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:08PM (#17424164) Homepage
    I am not much of a flyer, but would it possible to fly to, say, a city bordering the U.S. in Canada or Mexico or an island, and then take a bus/train/small plane in? I guess it'd depend on your destination... if you're going to the middle of the continent, it would be too inconvenient. Sounds strange, but how would a potential terrorist do it? Seems terrorists and people who want to fiercely guard their privacy have overlapping interests in this case. :-/
    • by westlake (615356)
      Sounds strange, but how would a potential terrorist do it?

      Keep it simple, stupid. The successful terrorist does nothing out of the ordinary. He builds a plausible civilian identity, becomes a working stiff, marries, raises a family, applies for a passport and takes the red-eye flight into Boston like everyone else.

      If he reads Slashdot, he will be laughing inside at the Geek's naivety, the ridiculous schemes conceived out of paranoia and inexperience that in his own part of the world would almost certainl

  • umm,... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:11PM (#17424196)
    dont you need, like, a passport or something to fly into and out of the u.s.? doesnt that sorta ruin your privacy? i mean, like, they know you are entering the country as soon as you get here.

    sounds like they are trying to be informed about 'bob the nutcase who wants to kill you becuase you are different' before he hits the u.s. soil.

    • by JimBobJoe (2758)
      dont you need, like, a passport or something to fly into and out of the u.s.? doesnt that sorta ruin your privacy?

      Considering the fact that, for thousands of years of human history, people did not require permission or documentation to cross land or sea, the passport is, at the very least, a major encumbrance on (what I consider) the human right to travel without impediment.

      As for a privacy claim, if you take the point of view that privacy is the ability to restrain people from having only as much informati
  • Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:37PM (#17424504)
    What amazes me is that we go to such (potential) lengths to inspect people who are entering the country legally, but we can't seem to deal with the zillions of people crossing into the US or overstaying their visas illegally.
  • by CoolCat23 (923066) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:53PM (#17424664)
    For now, the US require passengers to give away personal details, bank accounts, etc.
    This is outrageous enough, but who knows what will be asked next ?
    My DNA sample ? AIDS test ? My last choice to the last national elections ? If I have non-"acceptable" friends or lectures ?
    How far will the Privacy Right be crushed, just to satisfy the US paranoia ?


    Concerning the "don't like the rules, don't come here" comments, how would YOU feel if you were asked such private questions by, say, any north-African airlines ?
    And if I'm *required* to fly to the US for work, must I lose my job to keep my private life by refusing to comply ?
    • by westlake (615356)
      AIDS test ?

      You do understand that freedom from contagious disease has always been a condition for entry into the United States?

  • by whitehatlurker (867714) on Monday January 01, 2007 @06:16PM (#17425478) Journal
    We have much friendlier people, better scenery and fewer hurricanes.
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:47PM (#17426410) Journal
    It will get you tagged as a threat. I know from experience. It's one of the first things they ask. Before 9/11 they had to let me go. Now I'm not so sure. Only terrorists and smugglers use cash. Use a "throwaway" bank account. Keep your real one private. Just like email. Though I know it won't happen, a boycott of the states is in order.
  • by golodh (893453) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:23PM (#17426762)
    I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but I strongly suspect that paying cash for a ticket will be enough to raise a yellow flag on your booking.

    Why? Because it's different from the norm (most people like the convenience and safeguards that credit-card payments provide), and paying cash makes it more difficult to dig up information on you. And incidentally, since 9 out of 10 credit-card companies have their head office in the US, I suspect that all your European credit card transactions will be as accessible to the US authorities as those of US citizins.

    So ... in all those bookings you'll have a mass of people who pay by credit-card, some who are in large accounts, some who purchase their tickets through a travel agency. All neat and traceable. And then you have a few percent who pay cash at the counter. Who would you pay special attention to?

    It just seems so blindingly obvious that if you were tasked with screening people that you would pay special attention to anyone who seemed to be willing to go to some trouble (by paying cash) to be less easily traced. Although it's not probable that screeners will devote a lot of attention to everyone (screeners probably have a finite amount of resources), if your software can trace someone's credit card (and check where, when, and how the card has or hasn't been used over say the past 5 years ...), you will know a fair amount about the holder (ideally) and you may green-flag that person if nothing suspicious turns up. Just to try and boil down the list of passengers a little, and spend more time with the rest.

    After all ... you don't *really* care if someone slips though to raise mayhem ... it's enough if you can show your boss that *you* did your job. And that's a lot easier to prove when someone slips through your computer thought it knew all about than someone it couldn't trace very well, right? So, I'd guess (but that's just a guess on my part) that this screening program contains a line like: "If Cash_Payment(passenger) Then Raise_Yellow_Flag(passenger)".

  • by liftphreaker (972707) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @12:40AM (#17428818)
    Things have been getting steadily worse since 9-11, and the only reason I'd ever visit the United fascist states of amrika is on business, when my company arranges everything.

    Fingerprints aside, the fact that you can't lock your luggage (or get the locks smashed by luggage manhandlers) is enough of a deterrent not to go to the US.

    Freedom for the people? Hmmm let's see...
    0. Torture, indefinite detention and abuse? Check.
    1. Warrantless wiretapping, reading your emails? Check
    2. The authority to detain and arrest anyone at any place without charge? Check.
    3. Freedom of speech squashed? Check.
    4. The feds can bust into your house at any time and seize anything they like? Probably put you in the slammer as well? Check.
    5. Speak against the republicans and get your ass busted in 15 minutes? Check.
    6. No fly list? Check.
    7. Tasers for anyone who has the balls to stand up for themselves? Check.
    8. One totally brainf***ed legal system? Check.

    No thanks, I will pass. The last time I visited the US on "pleasure" was in 1999.

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