Electronic Passports Raise Privacy Issues
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 1, 2008; A06
The federal government will soon offer passport cards equipped with electronic data chips to U.S. citizens who travel frequently between the United States and Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. The cards can be read wirelessly from 20 feet, offering convenience to travelers but raising security and privacy concerns about the possibility of data being intercepted.
. . . The $45 card will be optional and cannot be used for air travel . . . “The government is fundamentally weakening border security and privacy for passport holders in order to get people through the lines faster,” said Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology . . .
So let’s see, this newest thingamabob is supposed to enhance travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, but you can’t fly to Toronto or Acapulco and you must swim to Jamaica.
Heckuva job, Mike.
This will, I suppose, be a boon to the cruise-ship industry, which must have comped Mike Chertoff with lifetime cruises to get this bone thrown their way. Actually, putting this indefensibly inadequate Director of our Homeland Insecurity on a lifetime cruise would be the cheapest and easiest way to increase our national security.
The people who drive or walk across to Canada or Mexico for work or shopping may benefit, along with illegal immigrants and terrorists, who will find it easier to counterfeit the cards than wade the Rio Grande or duck under wire fences.
Thus Crazy Mike has, in one smooth operation, made us (US) exponentially less safe and allowed American citizens the same access to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean as any illegal.
But with a difference.
Just as the Patriot Act made American citizens living abroad ineligible to open an American bank account without an American residence in their name–a Catch 22 from which many may never recover–this newest idiocy works in favor of terrorists and illegals, while punishing us god-fearin’, hard-workin’, non evil-doin’ contributors to the common pot.
Extra good heckuva job, Mr. Chertoff.
Can a Presidential Medal of Freedom be on the Bush list of who’s been naughty and nice before these protectors of our freedoms all fold their tents, go back to Texas and stop their terrorizing of the Constitution? Blanket pardons given at the same time, just to seal the freedom part.
There was a time when banks encouraged the opening of accounts and travel to most of America’s nearby world was available with a wave and a smile. Now the presumption of innocence is gone, we remove our shoes in front of surely ‘guardians of our freedoms’ and only the worldwide mafiosi benefit.
Welcome to 2008, courtesy of George W. Bush.