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The Ticketor
22-09-2004, 11:16
US Immigration Officials Go On Courtesy Offensive
September 20, 2004
Complaints from international travelers to the United States about hostile treatment by immigration officials have prompted them to clean up their act, the official in charge of border controls said on Monday.

Robert Bonner, commissioner for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said the complaints -- many of them from Britons traveling for business or pleasure -- had forced the CBP agency to institute a code of conduct to ensure officers treat visitors with respect.

"Even one incidence of rude or hostile conduct tarnishes the image of the CBP and gives the United States a black eye. One instance of rude behavior is too many," Bonner told a journalists' briefing in London.

He said complaints had come from all over the world, but his department was particularly struck by the number from Britain.

"We have a very special relationship with the United Kingdom -- and frankly most of the complaints were coming from here. It was a question of our reputation. This just wasn't the image we wanted to project."

Bonner said one of the major issues was the handcuffing, detention and deportation of some potential visitors who had committed "minor technical visa violations" previously -- such as briefly or unwittingly breaching a 90 day permission to stay.

He said risk-free travelers would no longer suffer such treatment and added that CBP officers now had discretionary powers to allow entry to visitors who had committed only minor violations.

"While we must -- and will -- secure our border against terrorists, we must treat all travelers professionally and courteously," Bonner said.

"The vast majority of people who seek entry to the United States are law-abiding and present no threat whatsoever... [and] there is absolutely no reason for denying entry to people who pose no risk."

Bonner warned that while security procedures at all US entry ports were now much tighter than at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, there was still a significant threat.

He said incoming cargo, as well as passengers, presented a threat. "There continues to be a risk of potential terrorist operatives getting into the country. But the even greater concern is the potential for making a container into a weapon -- either with explosive material or as a dirty bomb."

Bonner said security agreements were now in place with 26 major trading ports across the world to ensure full screening of cargo containers before they begin their journeys to the US.

(Reuters)
-------------------------------------------US Wants Personal Data On Airline Passengers
September 21, 2004
The US government wants airlines to turn over information on more than a million people who traveled in June to test a new system for identifying passengers who may pose a security risk, officials said on Tuesday.

The Transportation Security Administration proposed an order that would compel 77 airlines to provide names, addresses and other information collected through carriers' reservation systems for domestic travel during the month.

All passenger records will be compared with a newly concentrated security watch list, compiled by federal law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies.

In some circumstances, names and other information would be compared with private databases used by banks and mortgage and credit agencies to ensure that identities given to airlines are consistent with commercial records.

Security regulators are giving the airlines a month to contest the proposal or suggest changes, but signaled they plan to move forward with a final order in late October. A 30 day test period would begin a month later. The government hopes to have the program in place next spring.

"This is an important moment in aviation security," said David Stone, the TSA's administrator. "We are advancing a vital tool to combat terrorism."

Justin Oberman, TSA's director of risk assessment, said the agency must complete the test with "live" information to accurately assess technological and other hurdles associated with obtaining and comparing passenger information.

However, airline reservation and data collection systems, in some cases, are outdated and may not function well with software used by the government.

The cost of changing any airline system would be borne by the carriers, many of which are struggling financially.

"We'll do things on our end to make it less cumbersome for them," Oberman said.

Since the September 11, 2001, hijack attacks, the government has banked that more efficient technological vetting would free more resources to concentrate on a smaller pool of potential threats and speed airport security for everyone else.

Currently 16 percent of passengers are pulled aside at airports for secondary security checks, which this week were expanded to include pat-down searches in some cases.

The latest effort to analyze personal information replaces some elements of a more ambitious USD$100 million initiative shelved this spring over challenges by privacy advocates that it was too broad and poorly thought out.

Another hurdle with the previous plan, the second generation of the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening program, was gaining access to passenger records voluntarily from the airlines.

TSA officials say access to passenger information will be restricted to agency personnel and private contractors working on the project. The agency is working on a plan for permanently disposing of the information.

(Reuters)

The Ticketor
22-09-2004, 11:19
Ok, en til da:

Passenger Screening Increased At US Airports
September 17, 2004
All passengers at US airports will have to take off their coats during security screening and more travelers will be subject to pat-down searches as part of new procedures to check for explosives, security officials said on Thursday.

The latest actions take effect next week and were prompted partly by recommendations of the special commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, hijack attacks and warned of loopholes in airport screening.

The suspected bombings of two Russian airliners last month also has brought the potential threat into sharper focus for homeland security officials, who have been testing new bomb-detection equipment this summer and are accelerating the pace of these programs.

Members of Congress who oversee aviation matters have also urged swifter action on screening passengers and their carry-on bags for bombs. All checked luggage is already screened for explosives.

Walk-through airport scanners that rely on X-ray imaging to screen passengers cannot detect advanced explosives, although pilot programs for improved monitoring strategies have been launched at several airports.

Last week, the Transportation Security Administration, part of the Homeland Security Department, began testing a device at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport that scans boarding passes for explosive residue.

Beginning next week, all passengers will be required to remove coats for X-ray checks. Garments include outer wear, athletic warm-up jackets, blazers and suit jackets. Additionally, the new measures authorize pat-down searches of passengers selected for secondary screening.

"These procedures are consistent with TSA efforts to improve and expand the use of technology to screen passengers for explosives at airport checkpoints across the country," said David Stone, the agency's director.

(Reuters)

Trety
22-09-2004, 11:33
Smilekurs var et artig og uventet tiltak - man fr bare hpe det hjelper, men man m samtidig f tatt vekk de som opplever en makt-tripp hver gang det kommer forlk innom...?