Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Fingerprinting Visitors

guard-tower.jpgIn a scary story, the Christian Science Monitor reports “US creates terrorist fingerprint database:”

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the completion of a database system that collects electronic fingerprints of both the index and middle fingers of every noncitizen entering the US. The system now documents 64 million travelers. The Homeland Security database is being linked with the FBI’s database of more than 40 million subjects.

The effort prevented 1,300 convicted criminals and immigration law violators from entering the US, and blocked 1,000 others from gaining visas, according to Mr. Chertoff.

So, doing a little math, 38% of those blocked by the system were neither convicted criminals or immigration law violators. I would think that the latter category would be a subset of the former: that all immigration law violators are convicted criminals. Perhaps immigration law is special, and doesn’t require a conviction to be considered a criminal. Perhaps the accusation is sufficient.

Regardless, it’s important to ask, why were those 38% of denied visitors denied? And would you be counted in that 38%?

In closely related news, DHS has apologized that Safana Jawad was stopped and strip searched for “being connected to a suspicious person.” Maybe they were concerned she was concealing the suspicious person under her clothes?

CSMonitor story via 27B stroke 6. Guard tower image from Safana Jawad story via Flying Penguin.