New security regulations at SFO

February 11, 2008 9:32:05 PM PST
Visitors coming to the U.S. will now have to hand over more personal information to be allowed in.

For the past few years, visitors have given two fingerprints at u-s ports-of-entry, now they have to give all ten.

Non-U.S. citizens arriving to the U.S. at SFO'S international terminal have to now give all ten fingerprints to enter.

"A 10-print collection system represents a quantum leap in our ability to collect better, more actinable information of dangerous people attempting to travel in our country," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Richard Vigna.

Customs agents have been collecting two thumbprints and a picture since 2004. New technology will now allow collecting all ten and comparing them against the government's watch-list in a matter of seconds.

"When a visitor arrives at a port of entry we'll be able to check him or her not only against the known list of names we have, but also the fingerprints picked up any pace terrorists have operated internationally," said Vigna.

"We receive information from the FBI and DOD every day, so we have new information that might have been developed on any one of those 90-million individuals," said Anna Hinken from the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.K., the E.U. and Japan are getting ready to do the same thing. But not all of our international neighbors will be sharing their fingerprints; that's where the U.S. military comes in.

"They collect fingerprints from bomb sites, locations where they have potentially bad people," said Hinken.

The Department of Homeland Security says more fingerprints also means catching non-terrorist criminals and stopping identity theft.

Interpol says it knows of 6.7 million lost or stolen passports; nearly three-million of them from countries where travelers do not have to get a visa to come to the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the privacy of those being fingerprinted will be protected.

"Our policies extend to the non-us citizens most of the same privacy protections we give by law to us citizens," said Hinken.

There are some exceptions -- prints will only be collected from people between the ages of 14 and 79.