9/30/2004

Fingerprinting Our Allies?

In an article found on the Fox News web site I ran into an article that spoke of how we have implemented a new system for people entering the country. All it takes is 15 seconds longer for them the get their fingerprints digitally taken and also their picture taken.

Now honestly, is that to much to ask? Is 15 seconds longer in an airport to much to ask to do what we think is best for our security? I read as some of the people were offended by it, now seriously, don't be a wimp. I think people in this world are way to offended, way to easily. People need to get outside of the box that they put around themselves that says "I am the most important person in the world."

The need to put into perspective the effect that this will put onto terrorists. Suddenly there is a much greater chance for them to get caught. We always speak in economics of people responding to incentives, that is what this war is all about. We are providing ample evidence that there are major incentives for not being a terrorist, i.e. not dying from a bomb dropped by a unmanned Predator plane. So with those incentives is the way and which we can find you, and this is a darm good way to help us find them.

Lets look beyond our own self intrests for a few minutes, and if foreigners have a hard time with 15 extra seconds; then STAY THE HELL HOME!

8 comments:

Julie said...

I didn't get the idea from the article that people were upset about the fingerprinting, just surprised. They realized that the airports were trying to ensure their safety.

I believe that there may be some people that get upset by this, but I don't think it will be because of the extra wait in line. The Swedish man said he was used to being regulated by the government, but other people may not be. Americans in particular are very protective about their right to privacy. I've heard people argue that security is more important than this right, but if we give up our rights for it, will we really have security?

pramahaphil said...

Everytime I hear people whine excessivly about their privacy, my butt twitches. How does your finger print cause some harm to your privacy? There are no bank account numbers in you fingerprint, your fingerprint doesn't give out your telephone number, and it doesn't confirm sexual preference.

How is this extra security measure infringing on privacy?

Bruce Banner said...

I do agree the about home security and we need to do what ever within reason to proctect ourselves and if fingerprinting will help, lets do it. I can see where some people will have some issues about fingerprinting on an individual who likes their privacy. Finger printing is a way for gov't to keep track of you. If you travel outside of the country a lot you can be easily tracked. If there where issues you could be interagated a lot because of your travelings even though it was just for business or pleasure.

John West said...

We as Americans do have a right to our privacy, but a lot of things in the world that we took for granted changed after 9/11. There is no question, that taking 15 seconds of someones time should not be too much to ask for. However, what about the person that is the exception to this rule and is kept for a much longer time because of some discrepency. All I'm saying is that the world will never be perfect, but we do need to have certain rules in place that help the Department of Homeland Security do their job while at the same time allowing for the public to go on with their lives.

Dr. Tufte said...

I'm tempted to take off points for misspelling(s) in Pramahaphil's and Bruce Banner's comments.

This is a really good example of explicit and implicit costs.

And ... one of the reasons I'm having my students read Landsburg is that he is very good about saying that if people appear to be doing something irrational, then there is probably an underlying reason that we are missing.

So, what's going on here? It is clear that some people don't like this measure, and that others don't care too much. It is also clear that the explicit costs (15 seconds of your time) are very low. So, there must be implicit costs to this measure (that are easy to miss), and they must vary widely between individuals (to get some people upset while others are indifferent).

The implicit costs are people's fear that the information will be misused. This isn't unfounded - no one used to worry about giving websites their real e-mail addresses. Further, many governments do not have a good track record about personal information and privacy issues.

What I do think is rather odd is the variability in people's perceptions of how large those implicit costs are. I'm not sure if there is a rational explanation for this, but let me try to offer one. High variability is subjective evaluations is usually a sign that being wrong doesn't matter much (think about all the vocal Jazz fans in this state, and whether the emotion they invest in that is proportional to the importance of basketball in their lives). So freaking out about getting your fingerprints taken may just be a form of "cheap talk". Think about it ... a lot of people squawk about privacy issues but do you personally actually know anyone who can demonstrate a concrete example in their lives?

Maudi said...

I think it is a wonderful idea to fingerprint any person coming in from a foriegn country. Have we all ready forgotten 9/11?? Do we not remember all of the lives lost? Other countries make it so hard to enter and leave, then why can't we. Just coming back from Mexico, they had to check our bags before we left the country..so if I can wait for 15 minutes while my bags are opened and exposed, I am sure that 15 seconds is not too much to ask!

Jordan said...

Dr. Tufte said:

"So freaking out about getting your fingerprints taken may just be a form of "cheap talk". Think about it ... a lot of people squawk about privacy issues but do you personally actually know anyone who can demonstrate a concrete example in their lives?"

This is so true. I think that there is a tendency among today's generation to complain about everything. I wonder if people would be less concerned about being fingerprinted at airports if there were substantially more terrorist attacks.

Dr. Tufte said...

I think the opposite: they might conclude that fingerprinting wasn't doing any good.