Now, Homeland Security is upgrading from a two-finger to a 10-finger system. In effect, it requires foreign visitors to submit to the kind of extensive fingerprinting usually reserved for criminals. But officials say that collecting all 10 prints ensures compatibility with the FBI database, and increases the investigative utility of the computerized system.
"It makes it sound as though this will have a limited purpose - terrorism, and a limited scope - non-Americans, but the reality is that the system is not going to be so limited," says Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in San Francisco. "They will be using it for every kind of law enforcement there is. They will be collecting fingerprints on Americans, and it will be used for every general purpose."
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