America exploits the Paris tragedy to leverage its security matrix

America exploits the Paris tragedy to leverage its security matrix
By Simon Davies

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By Simon Davies

If evidence was ever needed of the current intemperance and paranoia within the US Congress, you need look no further than this week’s vote to tighten American border controls.

The lower house has overwhelmingly backed plans to put the screws on visa free travel to the US. The House has authorised steps toward a range of measures including biometric passports, Interpol checks, intelligence sharing and pre-flight scrutiny of more than twenty million people who visit the US each year from the 38 visa-waiver countries (and this includes most of Europe).

The US measures should be seen for what they truly are; a cynical, manipulative, political and disreputable attempt to bully the rest of the world into a US-centric security matrix

The pretext for this action was the recent Paris attacks. This rationale is probably bogus. The US has been aggressively reactive to recent EU moves to protect fundamental rights, including its pursuit of limitations on the transfer of passenger data and the use of Safe Harbour for data transfers. A cynic might argue that Washington has used the French tragedy to get its own back on Europe’s legal regime.

Even were this not the case, the logic applied by Congress is absurd. The House has not debated the current intelligence failures, and merely wishes to layer more technology and data onto an already failed system. Interpol data pools already exist, and the organisation has several databases that governments can freely use for both warrant-check purposes and as a means of identifying false or stolen passports. Indeed Interpol’s travel document database alone was queried by governments on 1.6 billion occasions in 2015.

Fingerprints are already taken at the US border. Passport information is transmitted in advance of travel. Terrorism information is already shared to a substantial extent, particularly via the Five Eyes alliance, which encompasses the visa waiver regime.

It seems the US move has more to do with crudely putting a gun to Europe’s head to leverage more compliance and to injure the present drive to stronger EU protections.

U.S. officials have acknowledged that they are worried about the possibility that would-be attackers from the Islamic State or other militant groups could enter the United States as travelers from visa waiver countries rather than as Syrian refugees.

This is an acceptable concern. But contrast this week’s move with the situation after the 9/11 attacks, at which time Europe did not restrict US travel on the basis that terrorists might enter the EU from America.

The US measures should be seen for what they truly are; a cynical, manipulative, political and disreputable attempt to bully the rest of the world into a US-centric security matrix. The fact that these moves have no foundation of evidence and are probably greased by the lure of tens of billions of dollars in security contractor payments goes without saying.

December 9, 2015 at 02:18PM
via The Privacy Surgeon http://ift.tt/1OT6U2I

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