Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I am not on a DHS watch list!

I got a mail and I thought I'd try out the new authorisation system for entry for the US. It has the largest (and let it be said one the most poorly laid out) warning messages I've ever seen. I've worked on a considerable number of software projects and you should have seen how some of the warning messages looked, especially once they'd been localised to confirm to the legal lie of the land where they were being sold but this one beats them all hands down.

Seriously, are paragraphs illegal at the department of Homeland Security? Is there a tariff on excess spacing? There again my brief engagement with the IRS taught me that the US government likes its text to be dense and filled with foreboding.

Still the thing hops along at a decent pace once you've got all the details typed in, and it came back rather quickly (perhaps too quickly) saying I'm authorised to travel to the US. Not necessarily that I will get in mind this isn't the visa application process but at least I can get on the plane.

While I can understand the mindset behind this I still think it is the wrong approach, seriously minded terrorists are just going to nick someone's passport. It's a bit like the question on the form that asks if you are or were a member of the Nazi government of Germany or one of her clients states.

I also think that we in Europe should have done what the Brazilians did and instigate reciprocal arrangements with the US, oif they want our credit card details then we should ask for theirs. Also, what is this about the 'DHS may conduct monitoring activities with further notice', are they going to access my PC on the quiet? Given that I'm in a country surely that is illegal?

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