America, land of the free?

No. Not really.

A recent trip to America yielded the usual jokes about rendition and being sent to “Guacamole Bay” as one of my mates called it but I was not concerned, that was until I approached the immigration desk and saw that they were taking everyone’s biometric data (retina scans and fingerprinting) I was not amused.

Having never been in trouble I was miffed as to why I, along with the thousands of others, was being arbitrarily finger printed just to enter the land of the free. I entered into a lengthy debate with my immigration officer, my first question being: “Why are you taking my fingerprints?” The answer: “So that we have your prints on record incase anything happens during your stay.”

What happened to being innocent until being proved guilty?

I tried to explain the absurdity that they were taking people’s finger prints on the assumption that they may be a (shh) “terrorist” or a criminal of some sort. Would they then destroy my records if I left the country without incident I asked? “No, we will now have your records on file and so will others.”

So not only do they steal your biometric data but they then palm it off to every man and his dog. If you are concerned about identity fraud and shred your papers on a weekly basis, don’t bother. At the rate they are stealing your information it is already open source.

The lady at the immigration desk was pleasant enough, although she seemed mildly amused at my agitation for having never been in trouble and yet still having to be vetted like a criminal. I asked if she thought it was bad that in the year 2013 we treat everyone as an enemy of the state but she declined to comment.

I tried not to let it sour my experience of what was a relatively pleasant journey (minus the coach ride but that’s another story) and reluctantly put my hand on the scanning device. As I was doing this I wondered how the public have allowed themselves to be railroaded and sleep walked into this 1930’s Germany style security checking. Would these people be as happy to do their finger printing if say they had to get thick black ink on their hands and have it pressed into paper like they did not so many years ago? Probably not. Technology has advanced our lives in so many ways yet at the same time, due to the actions of war criminals and the worst purveyors of violence – our governments, we are having this technology turned against us and the simplicity of it is convincing us it is fine.

People will say if you have nothing to hide then you should have nothing to worry about, that these are fantastic ways of ensuring people are who they say they are and getting their data onto file. If that is the case shall we just start finger printing children when they start school? After all, it is the children that go on to become criminals and “terrorists” when they grow up, so we might was well get them young and get them early! I do not agree with the idea if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. I feel that is the apologist’s way of bending to the will of the state and justifying blatant, daylight attacks on our liberties.

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever” ~ George Orwell -1984

boot stamping on a human face forever