Thursday, January 15, 2004

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Good news and bad news on Brazilian fingerprinting

The bad news: Some Americans aren't reacting too well to the Brazilian plan of photographing and fingerprinting then. According to the Associated Press:


An American Airlines pilot was fined nearly $17,000 [That's in Australian dollars -- in USD, it's $13,000 -- hat tip to David M. Rosenberg for the correction!--DD] on accusations he made an obscene gesture when being photographed at the airport as part of entry requirements for US citizens, officials said.

Brazil imposed the new rules that Americans be fingerprinted and photographed at entry points in response the similar rules in the United States for citizens of Brazil and other countries whose citizens need visas to enter.

The pilot, Dale Robin Hersh, lifted his middle finger while undergoing the new security process at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport, said federal prosecutor Matheus Baraldi Magnani.

Police accused the pilot of showing contempt to authorities, a crime in Brazil, and escorted him to a nearby federal courthouse for possible formal charges.

Thanks to Mike Derham for the photo link.

The good news -- The Brazilians are ingenious at soothing these potentially ugly Americans:


The AP photo caption reads:

Warm welcome: Samba dancers greet a tourist and his son as they arrive at the Rio de Janeiro Galeao airport yesterday. The samba reception is part of a city campaign against a federal judge ruling that all US citizens be fingerprinted and photographed at the country's entry points.

More seriously, the Volokh Conspiracy has been blogging this story more seriously.

Less seriously -- readers, given the myriad kinds of amusements available in the world, which other countries should follow the Brazilian template?

posted by Dan on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM


Reminds me of a famous photoshop at

posted by: a farker on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

The image of the pilot 'saluting' the PFs was plastered across Brazilian newspapers this morning...

posted by: mike d on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Those Samba dancers are huge! What are they, seven, nine feet tall?

posted by: Stu on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

I didn't notice that at first, but man, they do have a "We want snoo-snoo!" look to them. Hope they're wearing very high platform shoes.

posted by: scott h. on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Not to appear as if I'm in the Brazilian corner in their dispute with the United States -- 9/11 happened here and not there, American tourists spend a lot more money there than Brazilians spend here and so forth -- but is including Brazilian nationals in the fingerprint requirement really necessary?

Seek no unnecessary quarrels, is all I'm saying.

posted by: Zathras on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

I don't think that adding fingerprinting will help us that much since our own government computers holding the data barely get a D in security ratings (easy to tamper).

However, the rationale for fingerprinting Brazilians was that there was concern that their passport was easy to forge (less tamperproof than some other countries). There also was concern about a small area in South Brazil, bordering Argentina where a lot of unregulated wheeling and dealing happens and where there is a sort of arabic diaspora (lebanese mainly, IIRC). I'm not saying that these arabs are potential terrorists, but terrorists could easily blend into their community.

posted by: ch2 on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

"is including Brazilian nationals in the fingerprint requirement really necessary?"

An article in the NYT discussed the standards by which the US judges which countries require registration and fingerprinting:

"On the face of it, Mr. da Silva's efforts to press the United States to exempt Brazil from the registration program seem doomed, even if Mr. Bush were to show sympathy. Aside from establishing a precedent that other nations would presumably ask for, too, Brazil meets almost none of the standards set by the State Department for inclusion in the group of 27 exempted countries.

For a nation to qualify, the refusal rate on requests for nonimmigrant visas to the United States must be below 3 percent; Brazil's rate is "up in the double digits, nowhere in that ballpark at all," an American consular official said Tuesday. In addition, Brazil does not issue passports that can be scanned by machine, another American requirement.

The American regulations also require nations to "demonstrate that adequate safeguards against fraudulent use of their passports are in place." Skilled forgers here produce both Brazilian and American documents, and American officials said Brazil was second only to Mexico in so-called expedited removals because of false documentation or misrepresentation at United States ports of entry."

posted by: Al on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

While I'm sure that the politics of this item are comment-worthy, as are the civil rights of visitors to the US and Brazil, I think the discussion needs to return the the size of the samba dancers. Are they on stilts? And why are they shiny? They have some kind of Japanese-giant-robot-transformer look to them as well that I can't figure out.

posted by: Stu on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

The very best perfect skin color. Brazilians. Coffee with a little cream. I am white, enjoy looking at a pure ebony black, think redheads with cream colored skin are neat.

But I have often seen pictures of Brazilians and just gone wow. Probably a long history of mixing. Some Hawaians are like this sometimes

posted by: bob mcmanus on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Those girls reflect more light than my mirror. There is no way they aren't oiled up.
Which makes for an interesting contrast. Flipping the Truedua salute gets you arrested, but dancing 4/5ths naked is family entertainment.

posted by: Geoff Matthews on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Yes, they're very tall.

So is RuPaul. 6' 7".

C. -- more Salma, I say!

posted by: Carlos on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Which other countries should follow the Brazilian template for amusements? How about Saudi Arabia. heh.

I don't know if this is true (my Google skills are worse than a chimp) but I heard that Brazil has a reciprocal policy concerning passports. What is required of their citizens to enter another country, is reciprocally required of that countries citizens entering Brazil.

Kind of like driver's licenses in the states. Minnesota and Connecticut honor each others drivers licenses (I didn't have to re-test to get a license in CT), but Connecticut and New York don't (I had to retest in NY).

posted by: Syl on 01.15.04 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

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