[Paleopsych] AP: Homeland Security To Launch RFID Systems At Border Crossings
checker at panix.com
Fri Jul 29 15:46:30 UTC 2005
Homeland Security To Launch RFID Systems At Border Crossings
[Thanks to Eugen for this.]
Five border posts with Canada and Mexico will get the systems, to
track visitors driving in and out of the U.S.
By Beth Duff-Brown, The Associated Press
July 28, 2005
TORONTO (AP) --The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will install
radio frequency technology at five border posts with Canada and Mexico
to track foreigners driving in and out of North America.
In its ongoing efforts to tighten border security and monitor possible
terrorist and criminal activity, Bob Mocny of the Department of
Homeland Security said the wireless chips for vehicles would become
mandatory at designated border crossings in Canada and Mexico as of
"This is a major transformation of how we are going to be gathering
information about entries and exits along the border," Mocny said at a
Wednesday news conference in Toronto. "The fundamental obligation of
our government is to protect our citizens."
After a foreigner entering the U.S. has passed a thorough security
check once, they will be given a document containing the chip. This
document will need to be renewed every six months.
The document is meant to be placed on the dashboard of a car so that a
person's personal information can be read as they approach a border
Even with the radio frequency technology, however, the vehicle will
still have to stop. If a person's identifying data produce no red
flags, they will get just a cursory check at the border rather than
Canadians and Mexicans, who fall under special immigration rules, are
exempt from needing the chip.
The mandatory program will apply, however, to all foreigners with U.S.
visas--including those from the 27 countries whose citizens don't need
visas for short U.S. visits--who cross into the United States at those
The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concern that the
program violates privacy rights for "third country nationals" who fall
under the program. Some immigrant groups also have argued that the
technology would target Muslims and empower a growing society of
But Homeland Security officials insist weeding out potential
terrorists, drug dealers, and other criminals from the innocent
shoppers, truckers, and tourists who regularly cross the borders is a
Members of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation met Wednesday with
Mocny to discuss their concerns. They came away hoping the new
technology may in fact help to fight racial and religious profiling.
Karen Mock, the foundation's executive director, said she hears
stories of people with "Middle Eastern-sounding names or darker
complexions" being stopped and questioned frequently. She said
technology could help by eliminating the possibility of stereotyping.
"They are able to ensure that regardless of people's names or what
other countries they've been visiting, that if they're frequent
travelers and they've already been cleared and their data is fine,
then they can move through it much more quickly," Mock told The
Radio frequency antennae have been installed at the border crossings
at Thousand Islands Bridge in Alexandria Bay, New York; and Blaine,
Washington, crossings for the Pacific Highway and Peace Arch. The
technology will also be launched next week at two crossings between
Mexico and Nogales, Arizona.
The radio frequency program--known as RFID--is an expansion of the
US-VISIT program, which was launched last year at 115 airports, 15 sea
ports, and 50 of the busiest land border crossings along the U.S.
borders with Canada and Mexico. Under the biometrics program,
foreigners are fingerprinted and photographed and those details are
fed into federal databases.
Mocny said some 35 million people have gone through the program, which
is set to expand to another 115 land crossings along the Canadian and
Mexican borders by the end of this year.
He said some 700 potential criminals with outstanding arrest warrants
or whose activities raised red flags have been nabbed under the
program that costs more than US$300 million (euro250 million) a year.
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