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Brit Visitors To America Face Finger-Printing From October

Author: Jonty Skrufff (
Sunday, September 5, 2004
All Brits and travellers from America's visa waiver countries face being fingerprinted and photographed when they arrive in the States next month, as part of America's continuing security clampdown.

"It is a significant change," Homeland Security chief Asa Hutchinson told the Telegraph this week. "We want to remind the visa waiver countries (which include Britain and Australia) of the fact of this enrolment."

News of the latest travel restriction appeared a week after Telegraph columnist Stephen Robinson ridiculed the harshness of the bureaucratic system set up for visitors requiring work permits (such as journalists and DJs) who now need to attend a face to face interview at the US embassy in London.

"I have come to loathe the voice of post-September 11 officialdom, the bogus politeness you hear in visa and immigration lines: 'Sir, please don't put your foot on that line, Sir'. Go to hell!'" he complained.

"What is baffling is why America is doing its best to alienate those who are its natural allies around the world," he added.

This week, the self-declared 'pro-American' columnist kept up his tirade against fingerprinting though warned that freedom loving Brits won't need to worry about the States for long since British authorities are likely to introduce similar practises at home.

"In a few years time, you will be required to report to a police station and offer up a fingerprint or a reading of your iris to be recorded in a national ID databank," he predicted.

"Your identity will no longer be your own, but will belong, irrevocably and in perpetuity, to the government. You may or may not object to this, but be under no misapprehension: this is a fundamental shift in the relationship between the state and the individual." (Stephen Robinson: 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. That, at least, is the argument of our political masters . . .')

(George Orwell (1984): 'The invention of print made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end . . .')

Jonty Skrufff (