Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


The 3 Or 4 Slap Solution To The Two-Finger Problem

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

The Three (Or Four) Slap Solution To The Two-Finger Problem

In a pilot program starting this November 29 at Washington’s Dulles airport, travelers arriving in the United States will be fingerprinted using a ten-finger process instead of the current two-finger biometric identification process.

Paul Morris, Executive Director of a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Robert Mocny, Director of the US-VISIT program of the Department of Homeland Security, gave foreign journalists a heads up on the new system at a press conference this afternoon. Currently, matching only two fingerprints against a database of 90 million (and growing) fingerprints, results in about 70 people a day needing to “go back to secondary”, that is, have the machine-generated fingerprint match examined by a human to see if it actually is a match or is an error. Using a ten-finger match will improve the reliability of the match.

The physical action of taking ten fingerprints involves either three or four “slaps”—contact with the reading/recording scanners—as in, left hand, right hand, both thumbs, or left hand left thumb, right hand, right thumb. The pilot program at Dulles will establish how best ergonomically to situate the scanners, and how long it will take travelers to perform the hand slaps. Real-time matching with the database happens in less than ten seconds.

In response to Scoop’s question whether people from visa waiver countries such as New Zealand--who will encounter this for the first time at the point of entry--should be concerned about the information collected at the point of entry being sent back to anybody in the country of origin, Director Mocny replied:

“We have the ability to share law enforcement information with other law enforcement agencies. We’ve published a Privacy Impact Assessment, and we’ve notified the public of that ability to share with foreign governments in some cases. We’re not currently sharing with the government of New Zealand at this point, but we have the ability to share with law enforcement entities within the US and the ability to share that outside the United States as well.”

November is Privacy Month at US-VISIT, during which time all employees undergo mandatory training about privacy issues. The 2006 Privacy Report published by the Department of Homeland Security notes that there is a dedicated Privacy Officer for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program (US-VISIT), and that there is a redress process available. The Asia Pacific region’s Regional Movement Alert List is largely the outcome of the US-VISIT Privacy Officer’s “leadership and counsel” to APEC countries, according to the report. Under RMAL, Australia was the first country to allow real-time data sharing of information on lost and stolen passports.

That report is available here:

The US-VISIT website about the roll-out of the ten-finger scanners is here:


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Totalitarian Cyber-Creep: Mark Zuckerberg In The Metaverse

Never leave matters of maturity to the Peter Panners of Silicon Valley. At their most benign, they are easily dismissed as potty and keyboard mad. At their worst, their fantasies assume the noxious, demonic forms that reduce all users of their technology to units of information and flashes of data... More>>

Keith Rankin: 'Influenza' Pandemics In New Zealand's Past
On Tuesday (16 Nov) I was concerned to hear this story on RNZ's Checkpoint (National distances itself from ex-MP after video with discredited academic). My concern here is not particularly with the "discredited academic", although no academic should suffer this kind of casual public slur. (Should we go further and call Simon Thornley, the academic slurred, a 'trailing epidemiologist'? In contrast to the epithet 'leading epidemiologist', as applied to Rod Jackson in this story from Newshub.) Academics should parley through argument, not insult... More>>

Digitl: When the internet disappears
Kate Lindsay writes about The internet that disappears. at Embedded. She says all that talk about the internet being forever is wrong. Instead: "...It’s on more of like a 10-year cycle. It’s constantly upgrading and migrating in ways that are incompatible with past content, leaving broken links and error pages in its wake. In other instances, the sites simply shutter, or become so layered over that finding your own footprint is impossible... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>

Globetrotter: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice For Us All

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”
He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasized by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>