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Sat, 17 Jan 2004

Schneier on Fingerprinting

Bruce Schneier, once again, comes through with insightful and clear-thinking commentary on the allegedly anti-terrorist security measures. This time it's the mandatory fingerprinting and photographing of foreign visitors.

The whole essay is worth a read. He concludes:

"America's security comes from our freedoms and our liberty. For over two centuries we have maintained a delicate balance between freedom and the opportunity for crime. We deliberately put laws in place that hamper police investigations, because we know we are a more secure because of them. We know that laws regulating wiretapping, search and seizure, and interrogation make us all safer, even if they make it harder to convict criminals.

The U.S. system of government has a basic unwritten rule: the government should be granted only limited power, and for limited purposes, because of the certainty that government power will be abused. We've already seen the US-PATRIOT Act powers granted to the government to combat terrorism directed against common crimes. Allowing the government to create the infrastructure to collect biometric information on everyone it can is not a power we should grant the government lightly. It's something we would have expected in former East Germany, Iraq, or the Soviet Union. In all of these countries greater government control meant less security for citizens, and the results in the U.S. will be no different. It's bad civic hygiene to build an infrastructure that can be used to facilitate a police state."

Posted at 16:50 | /politics | (leave a comment) | permalink


When in doubt, tell the truth. -- Mark Twain