Are you planning a trip to Japan to see for yourself how weird and wacky the locals can be? If so, keep your fingers clean and splash some water on your face before debarking that plane at Narita Airport. Starting on Tuesday, November 20th, all visiting foreigners and non-Japanese residents will be required to smile for the camera and submit to being fingerprinted upon arrival.

Yokoso! (Welcome!)

In a recent speech here in Japan, Barry Steinhardt, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Program on Technology and Liberty had this to say:

“Officials of my government have been traveling the world urging other nations to cooperate with and join the United States in creating vast new infrastructures for the routine invasion of privacy, all supposedly to help defeat terrorism. They have in many cases been pressuring and sometimes bullying other nations into going along with this approach.

The Japanese Version of US Visit is a product of that pressure.”

Gee. We forcefully implement democracy in the countries of our sworn enemies and bully our allies into helping us spy on international travelers including American citizens. Doesn’t that make you proud to be an American?

Cause I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I’ll…what? What the fuck!? Da ya mean ta tell me dat when I travel to like Texas n such, da government gonna know where I is? Oh, only if I like travel abroad and shit? Is Texas abroad? It ain’t? Well how ’bout Alabam? No? Well where is this abroad? France!!! Why da hell would I wanna go der? Japan!!! I hear day so poor day can’t even afford ta cook der fish. Hell no, I ain’t goin’ ta no abroad. I’m gonna stay right here, in God’s country, America. Cause I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…”

The US has already shared the information it has gathered on its foreign visitors with Canada. And although the Bush administration has promised not to implement a biometric data collection program on US citizens, Americans who travel abroad will increasingly be subjected to fingerprinting, camera clicking and God knows what else. These countries will of course share their information with the US. It’s only a matter of time before everyone’s whereabouts is tracked.

But who will tell Big Brother to fuck off?  Or is it already too late?