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DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba 417

Posted by timothy
from the so-very-giving-of-them dept.
First time accepted submitter illtud writes "From April, UK passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the U.S. itself have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you're not getting on the plane, even though you're not going to the U.S. The Independent (UK quality newspaper) has the story."
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DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba

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  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:26PM (#39537685) Homepage Journal

    This is an interesting step; in general countries are a lot more strict on entering their territory than leaving it. There are some circumstances where you'd want to control exit (if someone is fleeing law enforcement for some reason, avoiding child custody or the like), but I wonder if that's the intent of this policy shift or if it's something else.

  • AMERICA! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:27PM (#39537697)
    FUCK YEAH!
  • Better be a gag... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jcr (53032)

    This is either an April fool's joke or an act of war against Cuba, Canada, Mexico and the UK.

    -jcr

    • by DamonHD (794830)

      What's interesting is how plausible this is, and how poor the perception of the US' behaviour towards 'aliens' is. If true, this would make me unwilling to travel to see relatives in Canada, and it seems entirely within the US/TSA mindset to take its distasteful tactics / theatre beyond its borders.

      Rgds

      Damon

    • This is either an April fool's joke or an act of war against Cuba, Canada, Mexico and the UK.

      -jcr

      We're pulling out of Afghanistan, we're losing the war on drugs. The war on cancer is on hold until we pay off the other wars.

      This is the USA. We've got to be at war with somebody. My guess is that this is meant to be a backup plan in case we don't go to war with Iran.

    • by jonfr (888673)

      It is not a April fools joke.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      The US is just playing the rather childish "it's my yard and my baseball, I set the rules or you can't play" card.

      If the airlines really wanted they could make sure they plan their routes around US airspace. Though I'm sure the US could get more childish still and threaten to revoke landing privileges at US cities, which I doubt the airlines really care to test...

      • I doubt the international airports in USA would like to go bankrupt too. Where do they get their money? From the airlines who pay to land there.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fullback (968784) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:32PM (#39537731)

    I'm a mature, naturally calm person never prone to profane outbursts, but the U.S. needs to fuck off.

    • by rizole (666389)
      If the US is to 'fuck off' then they need some one to firmly and politely tell them to do so. It's unfortunate that, who ever is in power in the UK, they seem to show only gratitude to the US that we can continue to be it's bitch.
  • Already happening (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RabidMonkey (30447) <canadaboy&gmail,com> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:38PM (#39537773) Homepage

    This has been going on in Canada for years now. Even if you aren't landing IN the States, so long as you fly OVER you are subject to screening. My father spoke to someone at the airport one day who was not cleared by DBS, but still managed to get on his flight to the Carribean. His plane had mechanical problems and was forced to land in Florida. When he got off the plane he was met by law enforcement, who read him the riot act and took him directly to jail. He waited there overnight, then was put ona plane home.

    Living in southern Ontario, it is pretty much impossible not to fly over the states, even for domestic flights. That means we are all screwed by US rules, living in another country. Our freedom is limited by their assinine rules.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Our freedom is limited by the government who agreed to surrender our sovereignty to the US

    • by Artemis3 (85734)

      In this situation you musn't leave the plane, if it belongs to another country, its offlimits to local authorities.

      • by MachDelta (704883)

        Furthermore, aren't the pre-customs areas of an international airport considered an international zone?

    • Well, it's one thing to impose restrictions on air traffic over your own air space. But imposing restrictions on traffic that only gets near your airspace, as in a flight from London to Montreal? That's quite a different thing. Thanks Canada for playing along.
    • by digitig (1056110)

      This has been going on in Canada for years now. Even if you aren't landing IN the States, so long as you fly OVER you are subject to screening.

      Yes, but Canada formally withdrew from the International Air Services Transit Agreement in 1988 so the first Freedom of the Air doesn't apply there. As far as I am aware the USA has not withdrawn from that agreement (yet), so this looks to me to be a breach of their international treaty obligations. I don't know the US legal system well enough to know what recourse a foreign national would have if the DHS refused them something that the USA had promised them by international treaty, though. Would it be a SC

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's another example of America shooting itself in the foot. There is already unease in the UK over what is widely seen as an unfair one sided extradition treaty. You can be extradited from the UK for doing something that is legal under UK law but in the USA but it doesn't apply the other way around. There has been a special feeling towards America in the UK but that is slowly changing with what is seen as heavy handedness. When the Brits start turning against the Yanks you know America is in trouble long

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:50PM (#39537819)

    The article starts out with...

    New rules require British Airways and other airlines flying to certain airports outside America to submit passengers' personal data to US authorities. [...] Even if the flight plan steers well clear of US territory, travellers whom the Americans regard as suspicious will be denied boarding.

    Emphasis mine. This statement is what is supposed to re-assure us that it's ridiculous.
    ( Not to say that it isn't, but keep reading... )

    Washington has extended the obligation to air routes that over-fly US airspace, such as Heathrow to Mexico City or Gatwick to Havana.

    Emphasis again mine. So here's the twist. If you fly through a particular nation's airspace, are you 'steering clear of' that nation's territory?
    Wikipedia (don't worry, dictionaries appear to agree) states...

    "Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere."

    Emphasis once again mine.

    Their airspace, their rules. Some flights not too long ago were probably barred from entering Polish airspace as well and had to skim along its borders for its flight.
    ( http://twitter.com/#!/flightradar24/statuses/128071958293266432 [twitter.com] )

    It's still ridiculous because it makes little sense. Not just because of the notion that you wouldn't actually set afoot in said territory, but because the few cases in which you might (such as an emergency requiring diverting to one of that nation's airports) also apply to many other routes that don't cross that airspace but still come close enough for the pilots to decide to, or be forced to, land there - security clearance issues or no security clearance issues.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      It's still ridiculous because it makes little sense. Not just because of the notion that you wouldn't actually set afoot in said territory, but because the few cases in which you might (such as an emergency requiring diverting to one of that nation's airports) also apply to many other routes that don't cross that airspace but still come close enough for the pilots to decide to, or be forced to, land there - security clearance issues or no security clearance issues.

      To push it to a point, would you allow a foreign fighter/bomber jet to invade your airspace? No. Then you've pretty much agreed that each nation control their airspace. During an emergency, well they should be afforded all the privileges of non-combatants under the Geneva convention - which is not that much, but it's basic protections against torture and other inhumane conditions. There's not really any other guarantee you have.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        To push it to a point, would you expect a nation's response to a foreign fighter/bomber to be different to the response to a civilian jet?

        Apples and oranges.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          It's not about what one expects, but what's needed under treaties generally signed by most countries. Geneva convention is one such treaty. It affords no special treatment just because you're a civilian. As Kjella said, it's rather rudimentary stuff. They aren't supposed to starve you and such, otherwise it's fair game.

          • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

            Fair enough. Like RabidMonkey mentioned above, expect a bed and meals and send you on the first flight home. Not sure about the whole jail part, but the general idea sounds fair enough.

            My objection was to the point that a civilian jet invading our airspace would be handled the same way as a fighter or bomber invading our airspace. Unless there is reason to believe that the latter is defecting, I'd be perfectly okay if the decision was to shoot him down. The former should be handled with a bit more diplomati

    • by glwtta (532858)
      My reading was that they already had similar rules in place for flights crossing US airspace (which, fine, sort of makes sense), but now they want to extend them to all flights going to the specified cities.

      The "steer clear" and "over-fly US airspace" in your quotes are in different contexts - they were specifically emphasizing that the new rules are about flights that don't enter the US airspace.
    • Apparently you forgot to read on.

      Washington has extended the obligation to air routes that over-fly US airspace, such as Heathrow to Mexico City or Gatwick to Havana.

      Now the US is demanding passengers' full names, dates of birth and gender from airlines, at least 72 hour before departure from the UK to Canada. The initial requirement is for flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and the Nova Scotia capital, Halifax â" 150 miles from the nearest US territory. A similar stipulation is expected soon for the main airports in western Canada, Vancouver and Calgary.

      UK -> Canada certainly doesn't go through the US airspace.

    • I don't understand your conclusion.

      Say you have 80,000 flights a day in your airspace. Of those, say 70,000 are arriving at or departing from your land. The other 10,000 are only traveling through your airspace. That's 10,000 unvetted potential attack vectors. Implement the new policy and now those are all vetted too.

      As for emergencies, how many of those are there each day? And of those, how many are from unvetted flights just passing by? I think we can agree it's not very many. It is much easier to have a

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @09:40PM (#39538079) Journal
    The people with the British accents are the bad guys.
  • Self contradicting article. Summary says "even for flights hundreds of miles from American airspace" and then the article says "air routes that over-fly US airspace". So which is it?
  • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:01PM (#39538173)

    This only applies to UK-departing flights so far?

    Paris would have a few flights to Montreal, Madrid to Mexico City and Havana, no?

    Anyway, as far as 'no-fly' lists go, I'd be shocked if UK and USA intelligence services weren't sharing databases already. This theatre just serves to piss off anyone buying tickets within 3 days of travel when existing controls such as immigration, checkin and boarding serve to validate one's passport electronically 3 times before boarding a flight.

  • Sealand anybody?... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bdabautcb (1040566) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {relggawsuoicadob}> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:09PM (#39538215)
    As an American from the midwest who travels a lot, this is an even bigger encitement for me to travel less by plane. The biggest issue for me is convincing my employer to give me four days to drive to Utah and back instead of flying out on a Friday night and flying back on Sunday. If I can leave on Thrursday afternoon, conslidate meetings, leave Sunday morning, and return Monday afternoon, I might be able to convince them. The biggest issue from my perspective is that I drive my own car, I will not be responsible for any delays, and I now believe that I am in more control than the TSA over any hard information that I am bringing to my clients. I can't wait for the mandatory traffic stops while crossing state lines. I witnessed a smaller version of the same the other day, while driving north from Central Ave. in MPLS. When I got to Columbia Heights, there was a small cadre of police who appeared to be doing random stops and car checks on Central. I served my guy about ten blocks north, and then had to go back. I was prepared to call my lawyer, even though I had nothing close to illegal in my car. I drove past the checkpoint and was not pulled over. I'm suprised that the local cops didn't have my license plate because I have recently posted on slashdot and pull me over. F ying sucks, now taking a train or driving a car might suck just as much. Vote for the least worst option no longer works. Put your shit together and vote for some real people in the next election.
  • by Pretzalzz (577309) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:27PM (#39538267)

    I suspect the flights to Canada have more to due with the fact that the border between Canada and the US is fairly porous. The US is concerned with people getting into Canada and then sneaking across the largely undefended border so in the past couple of years they have been stepping up coordination of border/immigration security. Since this is a bilateral effort, what I suspect is going on is that the Canadian government is telling airlines they have to clear their passengers with US's DHS.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      It's undefended, but from what I've seen, living within easy cycling distance to that border, it's not at all easy to cross without being noticed.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:59PM (#39538401) Homepage

    in the laundry list of reasons I as a professionally trained engineer need to emigrate somewhere other than America.

    we can have a constitution and a declaration that insist freedom for all and open arms to the tired weary who yearn to exchange nitrogen oxygen mixtures without oppression, sure. but what i find particularly offensive is that the zeal with which we trample over everything we proudly declare to despotic and non-despotic countries alike as "true democracy" in the pursuit of stopping terrorism.
     
      Terrorism, for those unfamiliar with the vernacular as used in the american context, is the act which kills far fewer americans than diabetes and heart attacks "from sea to shining sea" every year. It is the mere utterance from whch blossoms carte-blanc policing not seen since the third reich of everything from trains to busses, your private automobile, and even the god damn Dodgers baseball stadium.
     
      The irony of course, notwithstanding the staggaringly disproportional comparative death rates between disease and 'terror', is that we as a nation have trumpeted things like warrantless detention, search, and seisure as a cause against the american way for so long its become a 4x4 drum beat behind every political speach since taft.

    part of me, as an american, yearns for this warrantless detention, that it may serve as a much needed nail in the coffin to which i have laid my patriotism. The other half would rather it not, for fear it would preclude my gainful employment and thus my credit, to which my entire life as an american is inextricably bound.

  • by MadMaverick9 (1470565) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:23AM (#39538673)

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/agents.shtm#secflght [tsa.gov]

    Secure Flight Program: Overflight Overview and the Overflight Table for Third-Party Providers

    http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/SFP_Overflight_Overview_Table.pdf [tsa.gov]

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