Close your eyes and envision yourself not being a U.S. citizen. Most Europeans travel all over Europe like we do here in the States. If you were a European, you would most likely do the same. You would see places, countries, and cultures of the world.Perhaps you visit America. Let?s say you came in April of 2003. After your plane arrived, you had to go through customs and were interrogated by questions of your destination and reason for being in the United States. After five minutes, you walked on to obtain your luggage.
During your visit, you had a great time here, and decide to come back again, this time to visit a friend for the holidays. You come over in December of 2004. But this time things are different. You walk through the airport terminals and arrive at customs.
This time, everyone who isn?t an American citizen gets to have their faces and index fingers photographed. These are then scanned into a system called the US-VISIT (catchy huh?). According to CNN, this is currently going on in the 50 busiest land border crossings in 10 states. Philadelphia International Airport is among them.
In light of this new system, some tourists would be discouraged to travel to this great country, yet you remain one of its loyal travelers. This time you come a year later in 2005. Even though the U.S. government already has your face and index fingers scanned and in their system, now they want more. The government now wants you tagged. You will be tagged with a chip that is to be implanted into you. It?s called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Technology). No, rest assured, loyal traveler, you did not just walk onto the set of Minority Report. This is reality.
As CNN divulges, the government alleges that this system of tagging will weed out potential terrorists, drug dealers, and other unwanted travelers from coming into our country.
However, it does more. It will also cut down the waiting time while giving authorities more information on foreign visitors.
The chip actually works by being attached to an antenna which transmits a signal to either a handheld or stationary reader. Then the reader converts the radio waves from the chip into a code that links information into a computer database, which is then read by border control agents. The simulation of this program will begin this spring, and is expected to last until spring of 2006. The first place it is to be tested is Nogales, Arizona.
This form of technology has been in use for some time. Most of us are familiar with the chip implanted in pets in case they are ever lost. It is also used in other forms for toll collections, equipment tracking and the like.
However, one cannot overlook how our government is infringing our rights. It may not be us, but it is still affecting the privacy of the people in the world we live in. America is not the only country that makes up this world, nor is it the best. How can we take away other people?s alienable rights? The world cannot bow down to the United States. It?s not fair, nor should it be tolerated.
If you don?t want to make a difference because you think you may not be affected by this, think about your family. Is there anyone currently living abroad? Grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, or sisters? Or friends?
Many people will be discouraged to come here because of this. As Jay Stanley, spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union states, “It permits automatic invisible ID checks by the government” and that is not something I will be proud of as an American.
Jessie Thurlow is a senior majoring in literature.