How far do we let the Americans go?

I have as someone who has to do business in a post 911 America been subject to all kinds of abuses, suspension and just plain trampling of my rights during the simple of act of just getting on and off a plane. Oh, and almost exclusively with absolutely no explanation ever being offered. Although, I do remember one pathetic excuse given after 5 hours in a room without access to a phone at LAX couple of years ago that apparently they had received information that I had paid cash for my plane ticket. I am not kidding that is what they said.

How they got access to such information in a very clear breach of the data protection laws supposed to afford us EU citzens some protection is beyond me. As a side note I was somewhat comforted that the EU is now going to enforce these rules as it seems airlines have been passing all kinds of personal information about us to US Immigration authorities while we are in the air. But what will that mean? Will be have to get visas each time? What on earth does the US think the effect on business will be? And let’s be honest are we are really any safer than we were on 910?

Oh, anyway the spark for this rant was an announcement on my KLM flight from Amsterdam that the US Department of Homeland Security has stated that people must not be allowed to ‘congregate in areas’ on the plane. So apparently as well as well as our right to privacy our right of free association is also not actually a right but something we may our many not have depending on the whims of the US goverment. And don’t forget for 95% of any such flight we are not actually in the US.

Absurd doesn’t really seem to quite cover it. Does it?


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