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Visitors To US Now Required To Register Online 734

Posted by kdawson
from the e-papers-please dept.
mytrip sends a reminder that starting today, visitors to the US from 35 visa-waiver countries will be required to register online with the Department of Homeland Security in advance. The DHS is asking people to go online for the ESTA program 72 hours before traveling, but they can register any amount of time ahead. Approval, once granted, is good for 2 years. DHS says that most applications are approved in 4 seconds. If an application is rejected, the traveler will have to go to a US embassy and get a visa. CNet reports that information from applications will be retained for 12 years, and eventually up to 75 years.
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Visitors To US Now Required To Register Online

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  • *sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:17AM (#26431497) Homepage
    Yeah, so much for "your huddled masses" :( Additionally, watch Americans be completely surprised when these countries reciprocate the generosity.
  • by oliderid (710055) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:18AM (#26431509) Journal
    As a potential Johnny foreigner, I will spend my hard won Euros somewhere else.
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:26AM (#26431609) Journal

    As a potential Johnny foreigner, I will spend my hard won Euros somewhere else.

    If you are going to be deterred from coming to the US over the requirement that you register online and cough up some fingerprints I suppose you really didn't care that much about coming in the first place anyway, did you?

    I think this program is security theater more than anything else but our entry/exit requirements still aren't that onerous compared to other countries I can think of. In the end you'll have to weigh them against your reason for coming here. I'm in love with Italy and Italian culture -- I'd cough up my prints if that was the requirement to go there. New York State already has them anyway.....

  • by Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:31AM (#26431665)
    ..especially as I find the American people on the whole some of the most freindly welcoming and interesting people to visit. Sadly however I simply cannot stomach the attitudes and actions of their Govt. I made up my mind never to visit again after a 5 hour wait in Dulles to get through immigration, and was greeted by the most pig ignorant downright hostile group of people I've ever met at the DHS/TSA desk or whatever. You want my fingerprints, you want my details, sorry. Convict me of a crime first. Wanting to visit and spend my dollars in your country is not a crime I'm afraid - I'll go visit Canada instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:33AM (#26431703)

    My wife and I were looking at holidaying in the US for the first time in 5 or so years. We'd previously decided not to based on the Presedent, now we probably won't because of the queues at the entry barrier.

    The requirements may not be onerous compared to other countries, but that doesn't mean they aren't too onerous to attract people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:34AM (#26431719)

    "I think this program is security theater more than anything else but our entry/exit requirements still aren't that onerous compared to other countries I can think of."

    Care to provide more details, or was that pure rhetoric?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:34AM (#26431723)

    I mean I don't even get a shopping card from our local supermarket because I don't think it's necessary for them to have my personal information...

    So? Lie on the supermarket form. Or pick a name & address out of the phone book.

    It's more fun to pollute their marketing database with incorrect data.

  • Herd instict (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LuckyStarr (12445) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:36AM (#26431739)

    If you are going to be deterred from coming to the US over the requirement that you register online and cough up some fingerprints I suppose you really didn't care that much about coming in the first place anyway, did you?

    Afaik, no state on this planet has my fingerprints yet, and I do not plan on handing them over any time soon. If that means not to travel to foreign countries where I would love to go to, so be it. I'll watch documentaries instead.

    I have my principles, and a change of law will not change them!

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:36AM (#26431743) Journal

    If you are going to be deterred from coming to the US over the requirement that you register online and cough up some fingerprints I suppose you really didn't care that much about coming in the first place anyway, did you?

    This is a fallacy. If he cares about not handing over his fingerprints to foreign Governments, that doesn't imply he doesn't care about going to the country. On the contrary, if he didn't care about going, why would he care about the requirements?

    but our entry/exit requirements still aren't that onerous compared to other countries I can think of.

    Ah, it's the "But there are worse countries!" argument. Well sure there are worse countries - not exactly a ringing endorsement. Chances are the OP doesn't go there, either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:37AM (#26431753)

    The one true problem with this is that it is basically a one-sided reintroduction of a visa-requirement. The visa-waiver countries are in bilateral agreements not to require visas from each other's people for short visits. Since the new requirement isn't just an "at the time of entry" border security procedure, but instead requires the visitor to get a permission to enter the country at least 3 days prior to the visit, it is essentially a form of visa-requirement.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ImOnlySleeping (1135393) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:38AM (#26431755)
    That would involve Americans travelling.
  • by meist3r (1061628) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:38AM (#26431763)
    When I started college 3 years ago I was actually planning on spending a year in the US just to see what the standards and discussions are like and to see whose history I'm studying here. Since then, each year, the American governments makes one shit move after another and my interest in actually visiting this country dwindles with every one. I'm not having my fingerprints be stored for almost two decades in your "potential foreign sleeper terrorist" list and I'm not going through the silliest questions ever invented -again- (the actually DO have that "Did you come here to kill the president" question, I had to answer that when I was 14).

    One more time the bigotry triumphs. Leader of the world, biggest and strongest army ... locked away in his castle on the hilltop shooting at the mailman scared for his life. Congrats America, if that's what your freedom looks like ... no wonder "they" hate it. I do too. The USA used to be a symbol for immgration, diversity and -hell- freedom. Now it's become a symbol of lies, deception, bigotry, intolerance and paranoia. It makes me sad actually.
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:39AM (#26431787) Journal

    When I came to this country in the early 1970s it was required that we get visa's and passports, present them at the U.S. border, fill out extensive forms documenting our stay etc.

    Sure - but saying that the political clock's been turned back 30-40 years isn't exactly something to be thrilled about. That's an immense step backwards. I'd like to think we'd move towards a society with easier movement in time, especially given that there is far more intercontinental communication between people (both business, and personal) than decades ago.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:41AM (#26431813) Journal

    I find the American people on the whole some of the most freindly welcoming and interesting people to visit. Sadly however I simply cannot stomach the attitudes and actions of their Govt.

    Quite a few Americans share your opinion of our government.

    -jcr

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:41AM (#26431817) Journal

    Afaik, no state on this planet has my fingerprints yet, and I do not plan on handing them over any time soon

    I had to hand them over just to get a job (New York State requires them if you work for an OMH licensed facility) so I'm already "screwed" in this sense. I don't happen to agree with most of these policies but I do understand the motivation behind them. To each their own I suppose -- but I wouldn't be deterred from coming to the EU if I had to cough up my prints and/or a picture.

    In any case, the outrage over this article is completely misplaced. RTFA -- they aren't requesting any information beyond that which is already requested on the paper forms you fill out in-flight. It seems to me that filling them out online 72 hours in advance isn't particularly burdensome.

  • by RenHoek (101570) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:43AM (#26431841) Homepage

    I've visited the US several times for a month at a time. This was both pre- and post-"9/11". However I stopped going once the draconian identification measures got introduced at the border.

    Now you might be a member of the crowd that goes "If you're innocent then you've got nothing to hide" but I'm more of a guy in the "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" crowd.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:48AM (#26431895)

    1) Hey, we Americans "travel". How do you think we escaped Europe?

    2) We travel, just not so much outside of North America (which is 5 times+ larger than Europe to begin with).

    3) Who cares? Why do consider moving from one place to another for short periods of time to be a point of pride? Wow! You paid for a plane ticket. I know I'm impressed.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:50AM (#26431913) Journal

    Now you might be a member of the crowd that goes "If you're innocent then you've got nothing to hide" but I'm more of a guy in the "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" crowd.

    I'm not a member of the former crowd. I'm actually a member of the latter crowd. Dive into my posting history if you care to do so.

    I also recognize that every government on this planet exercises sovereignty over their borders and that said governments have a legitimate interest in preventing known bad actors from entering their country. It has nothing to do with "if you are innocent you have nothing to hide". Given the ease with which one can obtain falsified identification documents are you really that surprised that they've expanded the entry/exit process into biometrics?

    Canada will deny you entry if you've been convicted of drug possession or DWI -- even if said conviction was a misdemeanor/civil affair if your home country. Why don't I see anybody complaining about that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:03AM (#26432131)

    You may think it's security theater, but remember that the US has said that it will share the data with various agencies.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the UK governement certainly takes a look at all this information and uses it to populate our police databases to subvert the population.
    They are taking us down the road of national ID by any means possible.

    Our DNA database contains thousands of people who have never been criminally convicted. It even has the data of people who have volunteered their DNA to exclude them from murder enquiries.
    They were never suspects!! The fishing expedition was to find people unwilling to give their DNA and then concentrate policing on why.

    Want privacy? Expect to be investigated then.

    There are going to be false positives. Someone is going to get screwed out of all of this.
    What really appauls me if that the UK and I think most of the other 35 countries are not giving the Americans a taste of their own medicine.
    We should be stopping y'all at our borders, subjecting you to a search of your luggage, kidnapping your laptop and fingerprinting y'all.

    I'm sure many Americans would be up in arms and calling XYZ from your vaunted constitution.

    I've travelled to old Soviet countires and the Mid East. No one is this demanding.

    USSR called, they want your papers please.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:05AM (#26432153) Journal

    It's widely required at other places of employment, as well.

    And for many types of licenses -- liquor licenses, insurance agent/broker licenses, teacher licenses, CPA license, medical license, pistol permits, etc, etc, etc. People rarely complain about any of those but all of a sudden if the government wants to verify the identity of people crossing the border it's a burden and a sign of the impending police state?

  • by Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:06AM (#26432169)
    I can travel around the entirety of Europe without needing anything like this, just show ID. Nothing recorded, nothing logged, no database of my movements, nothing. Admittedly I am a dual national like all EU members are but the benefits to travel, employment opportunity, tourism etc are immense. To deliberatly restrict such momement does seem somewhat backwards that's all.
  • Re:Herd instict (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThaReetLad (538112) <sneaky@blueRABBI ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:07AM (#26432205) Journal

    What if you forget, or need to travel at short notice?

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:10AM (#26432245)
    I have to agree with another poster that I'm not surprised at the amount of anti-America bashing this generated. However, those of you who live outside the USA and are not American citizens should probably consider the following.

    1. Most Americans never travel outside of North America and have no desire to do so.
    2. The US government regards everybody except Canadians as potential illegal immigrants. Yes, even you EU guys and gals. Trust me when I tell you that while there are certainly American businesses that do want your money, my government really doesn't care if nobody comes over to visit.
    3. Probably less than 1% of Americans know the visa requirements for foreigners to come here. Almost everybody I've talked to in the USA had no idea how difficult to impossible it is for citizens of non-Visa Waiver countries to get visas to come here. Almost all Americans think that Mexicans and others need only apply for visas to come here legally and they are simply too lazy to do so. I've seen shocked expressions on the faces of many people when they found out how difficult it truly can be to even visit here as a tourist. I've known of cases of legal immigrants who were unable to get tourist visas for family members to come here to visit.

    So if you non-USA people expect us to "fix" our broken system, well, good luck with that because the truth is that almost nobody knows how it really works and almost nobody cares if it discourages you from coming here. That is reality. If you don't want to fill out an online form to come neither my government nor the vast majority of my fellow citizens care if you don't come because you don't like the rules. If you think this is some sort of meaningful protest, you are mistaken.
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:12AM (#26432305) Journal

    Our DNA database contains thousands of people who have never been criminally convicted

    Then vote the fucking assholes in the Surveillance^WLabour Party out of office. In my home state the police have to destroy your fingerprints/DNA if you are arrested for a crime and later cleared (via dismissal or acquittal) of having committed that crime. I'm growing weary of hearing Britons whine about your surveillance soceity while you keep electing the same assholes who are busy setting it up. Contrast this to the outage in the US over the Real-ID scheme. We've actually had quite a few states come out and say they won't take part in it. Where's that spirit in the mother country?

    I find it ironic that your unelected upper house is the voice of sanity in the UK. Perhaps you made a mistake when you stripped them of all their power?

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:17AM (#26432413)

    Are you saying your government needs to "verify" my identity for potentially 75 years?

    Tool.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:21AM (#26432479) Journal
    So getting past Saint Peter is easier than getting into the US...

    Exactly. All you have to do is have your sins forgiven, and you can get into Heaven. As for getting into the States, even if you've done your jail time for your crime, you can still be barred.
  • Re:Herd instict (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lloydchristmas759 (1105487) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:21AM (#26432481)

    though getting a new pasport requires fingerprinting...

    In fact, EU coutries wouldn't have introduced biometric passports if the US hadn't requested them!

  • by Brad_McBad (1423863) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:25AM (#26432539)
    Italy took me about five minutes. Germany less than that. Egypt about twenty minutes, although that was largely because I was on a full to the brim 747...

    I'm not prepared to travel to the states, since the state department and I differ on what we consider reasonable amounts of data being collected on my entry. If that's what I have to give your government to get in, then screw it.
  • Re:Herd instict (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:29AM (#26432617)

    and still your country has quite huge crime rates.

    I think crime is not the issue here. It's control. Criminals are easy, simply lock them away. But what of the general population?

    Step one seems to be to collect every available piece of information on every possible individual. What step 2 will be, I do not know.

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:30AM (#26432629)

    I also recognize that every government on this planet exercises sovereignty over their borders and that said governments have a legitimate interest in preventing known bad actors from entering their country. It has nothing to do with "if you are innocent you have nothing to hide". Given the ease with which one can obtain falsified identification documents are you really that surprised that they've expanded the entry/exit process into biometrics?

    What you're missing, is this harassment only applies to legal entries. The borders remain utterly wide open for illegals. Regulations like this are only there to hassle middle class people or fools who still believe in the rule of law in the USA. The method of BSing the populous is to claim it'll solve terrorism or some other BS. So, if you don't want the "legal" hassle, fly into mexico or canada and simply walk across like everyone else. That plays into the other Orwellian theme of modern america, which is to make it impossible for any individual to not be a criminal, thus making oppression of anyone at any time "OK".

    Think of why the roman empire fell. In summary, it was because for too many people it was easier to live without the empire, than with it. This is just another government growth that we are obviously better off without, than with. And so goes the empire. That's why this individual failure of the american empire is important, even when individuals claim they will not be affected by it.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:30AM (#26432639) Journal

    Yes, it's "Do not pass go, take the next plane home, and if you were from a country in the visa waiver program, you can forget about that now and go to the nearest consulate to get an actual tourist visa every time you want to enter the States again since you've been denied entry once."

    If you didn't figure it out ahead of time before getting on the plane then don't expect me to have much sympathy for you. Every single time I've traveled overseas (even to places I've already been) I've done my homework to find out in advance what the entry/exit requirements are and to make sure those requirements haven't changed since the last time I traveled.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by itsme1234 (199680) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:32AM (#26432661)

    1) Hey, we Americans "travel". How do you think we escaped Europe?

    2) We travel, just not so much outside of North America (which is 5 times+ larger than Europe to begin with).

    1) I didn't know Christopher Columbus was "American"
    2) How is it North America 5 times+ larger than Europe?! Area-wise it is only 2.42x. Population-wise Europe is actually 38% larger. Plus there are some places in North America where citizens of certain nanny-state aren't allowed to go unless of course suspected of certain activities in which case it's fine if they're deported there without any charges.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grimbleton (1034446) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:34AM (#26432703)

    Actually, people often complain about all of those as well, especially "pistol permits" as you've put it, given than the Second Amendment guarantees the RIGHT to bear arms, not the right to get permission from the government, provided you can provide them with a good enough reason, then pay them and subject yourself to intense scrutiny, and then MAYBE get the right to bear arms in the end.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:35AM (#26432725) Journal

    Let's lock the Department of Homeland FUD out and let the tourists in.

    I'm all for abolishing the Department of Homeland Security. I fail to see how creating one mega-bureaucracy makes us any safer.

  • by mbone (558574) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:37AM (#26432749)

    Where's that spirit in the mother country?

    I honestly think of the U.K. as a former democracy. The forms are there, but they don't actually seem to mean anything and the state does whatever it wants. (Oh, there are protest marches, but they seem to be as irrelevant as Garry Kasparov protesting outside the Kremlin.)

    We are about to find out whether that is also true in the USA.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:41AM (#26432809) Journal

    And for many types of licenses -- liquor licenses, insurance agent/broker licenses, teacher licenses, CPA license, medical license, pistol permits, etc, etc, etc. People rarely complain about any of those

    Actually, people complain about those all the time. Nobody listens, however; the complainers are filed under the categories of "whiner", "wacko libertarian nutcase", "pedophile", etc. Once these entry requirements are around for a while, any remaining complainers will be filed under the same category.

  • by adsl (595429) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:44AM (#26432879)
    Instead of filling in an "I95" on the plane one has to spend a few seconds giving the same details on line once and it lasts a couple of years.... What's the big deal to this? It actually saves time if you visit more than once in 2 years. Sometimes the planes run out of paper I95s and create more inconvenience. A while ago I visited Australia and had to apply for a paper visa, in my passport, via one of their embassies. If I had been given the choice of doing it all online I would have jumped at the convenience. Move along people. Borders and immigration stuff exists worldwide. What the US does today the EU will do tomorrow and vice versa. That's the world we live in.
  • by fprintf (82740) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:45AM (#26432891) Journal

    1. Most Americans never travel outside of North America and have no desire to do so.

    As a naturalized citizen of the U.S., and having traveled the world when I was younger, I can tell you that this country is big enough for anyone to travel, with enough really wonderful places to visit and not have to visit anywhere else in the world. My father has traveled much more extensively than me, and he agrees that it is absolutely not necessary to visit other countries if you don't want to. We have variation in topography (mountains, plains), beaches, lakes, oceans, mountains... you name it. You can spend a lifetime, and certainly a retirement visiting the sights and never visit a place twice or run out of things to do... hence the popularity of Recreational Vehicles (RVs) here.

    What is missing is history. With the exception of some native settlements in the West, everything here is less than a few hundred years old. Our "oldest" places are those dedicated to our revolutionary and civil war periods. When going to Europe one is struck immediately by the history - that certain buildings have been standing for centuries, even things as mundane as apartments. In NY City, if you have an old Brownstone built in the 1890s you have an old building. If you don't have a desire to relive old history, for most people that seems to be visiting the countries where their ancestors lived, then . I would say that most people here are quite satisfied to stay here... plus it is really expensive to leave, having to fly 3,000 miles to get to Europe, whereas if you live in Europe you can visit 20 countries in 10 days and get a different cultural experience at each one.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:12AM (#26433303)

    "I'm growing weary of hearing Britons whine about your surveillance soceity while you keep electing the same assholes who are busy setting it up."

    78% of Britons did not vote for Labour in the last election. More than three quarters of Britons did not want them, but they got them anyway.

    If you understood that minor little fact, and that the Tory party got more votes than Labour in England but lost to Labour nation-wide because of Scottish Labour voters, and that the current Prime Minister was not elected to that role but merely placed there by his party, then you might understand why so many Britons -- particularly the English majority, who are now the only ones who don't have their own Parliament -- are a bit upset with their government.

  • by KayakFun (720628) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:18AM (#26433403) Homepage
    If I wanted to be treated like a criminal, I'll become one.

    The assumption that all foreigners are (potential) terrorists is a slap in the face of hospitality.

    And it totally disregards the fact that there are quite some criminals among USA residents.

    And then consider that the USA owns a prison where you can be held without any trial or human rights, and that the USA is vetoing all UN resolutions against Israel that would lead to peace in the middle east...

    I said it before, americans are mostly nice people, but their government are still living in the cold war times. Luckily there are still a lot of other really nice countries that welcome my tourist euros.

  • by twostix (1277166) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:21AM (#26433451)

    "but our entry/exit requirements still aren't that onerous compared to other countries I can think of"

    My (ex) mother in law, an Aussie girl through and through, traveled across Europe with a couple of girlfriends as a twenty year old in 1973. Part of the trip was traveling through Soviet Russia and various parts of the Eastern Bloc. They searched her bag at each border, required to a see a passport, asked some questions, granted temporary visas and that was that. Having her bags opened and searched by a stranger openly wielding an automatic rifle was seen as quite disgustingly 'totalitarian' at the time.

    The US is far more locked down to foreigners than the menacing and "evil" totalitarian state of Soviet Russia was in 1973.

    Accepting it and making excuses ensures that it will continue on its path to the inevitable end.

    Fifteen years ago massive government fingerprint databases were purely the domain of ranting conspiracy nuts...oops.

    Ten years ago the idea that everyone entering the country would be fingerprinted was absolutely laughable...oops.

    And yet here we are. So whats next on the list to be excused away?

    This rubbish 'security theatre' (when did totalitarianism get such a cute name?) is something that's sweeping across the western world and it needs to stop. It really does, because we (average, reasonably people) are losing ground rapidly and very soon if it continues at this rate a lot more of this bullshit is going to start having an negative effect on the average man on the street. Once that happens there's no going back.

  • Re:(-1, wrong) (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:23AM (#26433499)
    >Which means bringing a passport. No. I've been from Spain to Italy by road with nothing more than a driving licence, and that involved a trip into Switzerland as well >>Nothing recorded, nothing logged, no database of my movements, nothing. >You think? Yes. Show me where I am recorded then when I walk by foot across the French/German border, through the Ardennes forest, along a mountain ridge road into Italy - there simply is none. >>Admittedly I am a dual national like all EU members are >Bzzz, wrong. Thanks for playing, try again. Try reading the Maastrict Treaty then - all nationals are alos nationals of the EU as a soverign entity. but the benefits to travel, employment opportunity, tourism etc are immense. To deliberatly restrict such momement does seem somewhat backwards that's all. >Hence why EU wants to impose US-like border arrangements with fingerprint sampling etc. Citation? Within EU? Schengen? >Of course, USA has it better here, they don't need a passport to travel to a different state. Last I heard a state was not a country, despite the protesttions of some of them.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:28AM (#26433615) Homepage Journal

    I have no problem with making inmates work or charging them for their living expenses. I have a problem with the idea that anyone should make a profit on it, EVER. I don't mind people being paid wages, that's not what I'm talking about. Prisons should be an investment in our future, not an investment for a financial return.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:30AM (#26433635)

    They may be required for those licenses in the US...but for people from many other countries (particularly ones with less tendency toward a police state than the UK) that just sounds absurd because short of being arrested, their home country would never require prints.

    I've visited the US several times, and it has always been among the more draconian (western) nations to visit.

    On my earliest visits, a visa was required, so you had to go to the embassy before the trip to obtain one.

    Then came the visa waiver program and the least onerous phase, when you just had to fill out a form before arrival, even though the questions were downright ridiculous compared to arrival forms of other countries. Additionally the questioning when handing in the form seemed to be more aggressive and more of an interrogation compared to entering other countries.

    After that came the fingerprint + photo requirements, which seemed ridiculously overblown.

    The change now doesn't seem bad, as it's merely providing some information in advance (I already did that for my last visit but it seemed a bit different). It looks to me like they want to handle cases where they deny entry before the flight rather than upon arrival...which is practical. If I were, for some reason, denied entry, I'd prefer not to have to go through the hassle of flying there to find out...

    The recent change certainly isn't going to prevent me from visiting the US, but every time I do, I feel like I'm entering much more of a police state compared to most of the other countries I travel to.

    I'm merely hoping Americans realize what kind of impression visitors get of their country based on these things.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:33AM (#26433675) Journal
    That's assuming they should be in jail in the first place, which is clearly not the case of the 500M prisoners on drug related charges.

    Does that include the manufacturers, importers, exporters, pushers, etc? Or is that just the end users?
  • by twostix (1277166) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:40AM (#26433797)

    "Yeah, if your caught on a battlefield while engaged in hostilities against US forces. Do you have a single citation for that happening to somebody at the border or are you just blowing smoke?"

    Lol "battlefield", is that what they tell you?

    "Maher Arar, a Syrian-born dual Syrian and Canadian citizen, was detained at Kennedy International Airport on 26 September 2002, by US Immigration and Naturalization Service officials. He was heading home to Canada after a family holiday in Tunisia. After almost two weeks, enduring hours of interrogation chained, he was sent, shackled and bound, in a private jet to Jordan and then Syria, instead of being extradited to Canada. There, he was interrogated and tortured by Syrian intelligence. Maher Arar was eventually released a year later."

    On 17 February 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (aka "Abu Omar") was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan (Italy),[40] and deported to Egypt. His case has been qualified by Swiss senator Dick Marty to be a "perfect example of extraordinary rendition".[29]

    "In October 2001, Mamdouh Habib, who lives in Australia and has both Australian and Egyptian nationality (having been born in Egypt), was detained in Pakistan"

    Many many more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition#Example_cases [wikipedia.org]

    Yes, "battlefield", that's it.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Heian-794 (834234) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:47AM (#26433921) Homepage

    Petaris (and I'm going on a tangent as well; readers not interested in Japan, feel free to skip), at least your wife will only have to give her fingerprints and data once; as you surely know, even if you were a permanent resident of Japan, you would still be fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned each and every time you re-entered Japan. And you have to acquire and pay for a $30 re-entry permit, to be used upon your return, before departing Japan!

    (Think about that... a tourist can enter Japan free of charge, without any advance notice, yet someone who already resides in Japan and presumably has been vetted by the government has the same fingerprint/photo requirements as an out-of-the-blue tourist, and has to pay for the privilege!)

    And in Japan, the US-style entry requirements are just the beginning. In Japan, police officers are empowered to function as immigration officials, and have no qualms about pulling non-Japanese-looking people aside and questioning them, particularly during politically sensitive events ilke the G8 summit, which was recently held in Hokkaido. They'll demand to see your Alien Registration Card, which all non-citizens are required to carry at all times and which contain enough personal information (printed in plain text!) to make an identity thief salivate.

    I find this more egregious than anything done at the border, since you can prepare for a plane flight and psychologically ready yourself for their questions, but it's impossible to keep yourself on guard for random street stoppages.

    Japan has managed to combine the most fascist parts of both the US system (severe border checks, personal information on file) and Europe's (mandatory ID cards which must be carried and shown to police on demand).

    I don't doubt that politicians like Hatoyama are chuckling to themselves at what they've been able to get away with while the big bad evil-empire USA gets all the bad press and all the internet outrage. We all have to be on our guard, or all the world powers will take turns bootstrapping themselves into total police states.

  • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:51AM (#26433983)
    My mother arrives tomorrow from Scotland and if a technophobe, 64 year-old Weegie can figure out how to get on-line and answer a few simple questions I think that you have greater issues with the US than worrying about queues at the entry barrier.

    Perhaps you should just admit that you're happy jumping on the 'we-hate-America' bandwagon for no other reason than it's the more popular choice at the moment. I mean why shy away from the mob? I know it's hard to vilify the population now that they very vocally ousted Bush and his ideals and I know that you have to find another reason to hate them, but entry requirements, come on! You have to be smarter than that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:53AM (#26434023)

    that the current Prime Minister was not elected to that role but merely placed there by his party

    Sorry, but *what*?!?!?

    How - SPECIFICALLY - did the party "place" him there? Perhaps some sort of vote? If the party voted him to be their leader, how exactly was he not elected to that role?

    If you're trying to claim that the general voters didn't vote for him, the same can be said of *every* PM. The people elect their MPs, and the MPs select the Prime Minister.

    Your post displays an astonishing lack of understanding of how a parliamentary system works.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:57AM (#26434101)

    Personally I don't see why any non-violent criminal has to spend a significant amount of time in the slammer, though I have heard some convincing arguments that it does work for white collar crime.

    My opinion is that the side-effects of the "war on drugs" are far worse than the effects of drug addiction. Turf wars and gang violence affect people who want nothing to do with drugs, whereas legalized drugs would primarily hurt users and those closest to the users.

    Further, I'd argue that the taxes collected on legalized drugs could be fed back into treatment centers and anti-drug propaganda/education.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:04AM (#26434217)

    Care to provide more details, or was that pure rhetoric?

    On a recent trip to Austria I was *REQUIRED* to provide the following:

    1) A current lease or other proof of ongoing residence here in the US

    2) Proof of employment/student status

    3) Proof of medical insurance

    4) Copy of my bank statement

    5) Copy of the hotel's secured reservation

    All of this I assume was to serve as proof that I wasn't going to leave the US and live in Austria (because that happens so often /sarcasm).

    I've been an avid slashdotter for some time and I've turned many a blind eye to the numerous knee-jerk orwellian accusations against the US, but the other comments on this post really show that we need to set some age or I.Q. requirements here.

    The bottom line is that the "few" i.e. terrorists will ALWAYS be able to ruin it for the "many" i.e. innocent tourists/visitors. Huge surprise, I know.

    This new requirement is no different than a guest book at a party or social gathering.

    I certainly don't like people showing up at my house unannounced, do you?

    And as the parent indicated, this is NOT IN ANY WAY burdensome or onerous.

    America is not an amusement park, it's first priority is to well-being of its citizens. Again rocket science I know.

    For the record Austria is a beautiful country and Vienna is a masterpiece of architecture. I'd do it all again to go back.

  • by mpe (36238) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:10AM (#26434319)
    So? Lie on the supermarket form. Or pick a name & address out of the phone book.
    It's more fun to pollute their marketing database with incorrect data.


    In this case there isn't that much the supermarket can do to to. Whereas a government can toss you in jail.
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:45AM (#26434977)

    Not just history but culture, language, attitudes, food, music, scenery (not all the marvels of the natural world are contained in the US), art, ...

    Yep, there's a lot of natural beauty to see in the US but there's a hell of a lot more of it outside the US plus all the other things that makes travel broaden the mind...

  • by drsquare (530038) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:53AM (#26435091)

    Obviously not the 60 million who voted Republican.

  • by DrLang21 (900992) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @12:16PM (#26435541)
    500 million? We don't even have a population of 500 million.
  • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @12:58PM (#26436275)

    "I find it ironic that your unelected upper house is the voice of sanity in the UK. Perhaps you made a mistake when you stripped them of all their power?"

    No mistake there at all buddy. People came to their right senses and realised that being ruled by unelected bodies was not a good idea (we're still working on the monarchy). Having a hereditary, unelected body of folk making the laws might seem a really cute idea from 3000 miles away but it's a bit archaic in this day and age. Somebody gets to make laws and judge you because one of their ancestors 500 years ago did something the king liked (or possibly lent him some money or similar)? No thanks. Or was that a plea from you to have the USA taken under the wing of the British Monarchy and its Parliament again? ;-)

  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:29PM (#26436791) Homepage Journal

    Nobody hates the US, you guys over there just love to feel victims. YOu send your army all around the place, kill thousands of people everywhere (you don't ever bother to account for them) and don't expect that some resentment will be felt elsewhere.

    Honestly, get real.

    What many people are saying is that the system does not show a friendly attitude, combine that with the horrendous reception you have when arriving to US airports (I have seen things that really make me puke) and you have a recipe for disenfranchisement.

    I used to visit the US around once or twice a year, but every time it became more trying, nowadays you are treated like a potential criminal, with a record of your entries, your laptop can be confiscated without any reason and without you having any possibility of redress and if you are in the unfortunate position of being mistaken as a terrorist (it has happened) then all the bets are off.

    Unless all this changes people like me, with a genuine interest to learn more about the US, will not visit your country.

    If you class the above as hate is more your problem than anybody else's.

  • by Talderas (1212466) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:36PM (#26437975)

    Try around 45 federal agencies that conduct criminal investigations, doesn't really classify as mega-bureaucracy. I'd almost say we should combine these together and cut down on some waste.
    DHS
    USCG
    CBP
    USBP
    ICE
    FAMS
    FPS
    USSS
    TSA
    ATF
    DEA
    FBI
    BOP
    USMS
    DSS (Part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security)
    IRS
    TIGTA
    USMP
    United States Treasury Police
    DCIS
    USPPD
    Army CID
    US Army Miliary Police Corp
    Air Force OSI
    Air Force Security Forces
    NCIS
    ONI Police
    CGIS
    Marine Corps Provost Marshal's Office
    OIG
    FDA
    USDA
    USDI
    National Parks Service
    Federal Reserve Police
    Library of Congress Police
    National Oceanic and Atmosphereic Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement
    NSA
    Smithsonian National Zoological Park Police
    USCP
    USPIS
    United States Supreme Court Police
    Veteren Affairs Police

  • by plantman-the-womb-st (776722) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:02PM (#26438403)

    In ALL serioussness, if this trivial bit of beauracracy GENUINELY causes you to stay away, we're glad about it.

    You, my fellow American, can fuck right off.

    I have many friends that live internationally, and several family members. Eight years ago, was common to get three or four visits a year. Within four years, it became one a year (they came for my wedding). Since then nothing, because of crap like this.

    You can speak for yourself, but don't you even begin to think you can speak for all of us.

  • Re:Herd instict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <omestes @ g m a il.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @04:19PM (#26439481) Homepage Journal

    given than the Second Amendment guarantees the RIGHT to bear arms, not the right to get permission from the government

    Why do people always ignore the first bit of the amendment;

    A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

    That and we consistently ignore the the use of the term "the people", which is used instead of "persons". It does NOT connote that "everyone should have unrestricted access to guns". The People != Individuals in the original use of the term (meaning in the sense the framers were using).

    It also does not contain any legislative context, saying HOW access to guns should be permitted/regulated.

    I personally don't care. I have a couple guns, they all are locked up, unloaded, and pretty much forgotten. I used them as tools for when I'm in the boonies, but would never level one at a human being. I personally think that its an archaic amendment, and that most people who debate it have a fuzzy idea of what it actually means (myself included), since it is the most opaque phraseology in our Constitution.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.

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