Another of these niggling, depressing, "the innocent have no
reason to fear" clampdowns on that most precious of freedoms -- to
move and live unmolested by officious busybodies with mysterious
agendas. Check out this
Associated Press report :
The government wants detailed information about every person who comes to or leaves the country by plane or boat, and for the first time will require U.S. citizens to fill out forms detailing their comings and goings.
Under rules proposed Friday, the information would be sent electronically to the government for matching against security databases.
"It's another way to enhance security for travelers," Immigration and Naturalization Service spokeswoman Kimberly Weismann said.
The public will have a month to comment on the plan and the final regulations will take effect later this year.
The scariest part is buried further down:
Once the information is collected, it will be transmitted to the U.S. government and matched against security databases prior to the travelers' arrival. A passenger or crew member whose information raises a red flag could be met by officials when the ship or plane arrives.
In a world increasingly united into one huge database, where (as things like "deadbeat dad" databases and new-hire registries show) the government doesn't hesitate to link any reason it has to clamp down on you with any liberty it decides to treat as a "privilege" (apparently, now, leaving or coming back to the U.S.), one shivers to wonder what will end up qualifying as a "red flag" -- especially, as the AP story says, when "The law also gives Attorney General John Ashcroft leeway in proposing further requirements."
The ACLU isn't concerned about this, according to AP.