Saturday, August 29, 2009

Will Biometric Passports Lead to a State of Constant Surveillance?

alternet.org
The protection of privacy and personal data is vital for any democratic society, and should be respected as much as freedom of expression or movement.

One of life’s sweet pleasures is to travel. Thanks to the increasing number of low-cost flights, traveling abroad is no longer a luxury reserved for the privileged few. At the same time, however, there is an alarming increase in the demand of personal data from tourists and no clear transatlantic legal framework on personal data exchange. Though third parties such as airlines and airport operators have the right to read this data, we don’t know what happens with it afterwards.

Under legislation introduced after the September 11th attacks, the United States has tightened security measures for foreign tourists entering its country. The latest measure requires that by 2012, every traveler entering the United States who is part of the visa-waiver program must have a biometric passport or be forced to apply for a visa.

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