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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome to America: Click to Enter!

I used to think Microsoft had retired the prize for the most absurd pop-up dialogue boxes, but one must never count out the U.S. government when it comes to scaling heights never previously imagined achievable. “If they can land a man on the Moon”…certainly they can make a dialogue box that puts to shame the private sector obfuscators of Redmond.

Case in point: citizens of countries eligible for the U.S. “Visa Waiver Program” are able to travel to the U.S. without previously applying for a visa, just as citizens of most countries in Europe have been able to do for travel to other European countries for decades. But with the U.S., there's always another turn of the screw—most recently the “Electronic System for Travel Authorization” which requires citizens of “visa waiver” countries to provide intrusive personal information at least 72 hours before departure or be denied boarding on flights to that destination whence fewer and fewer people want to go in any case, given the ever-ratcheting pain of entering the country and routine harassment and humiliation of travellers on domestic flights. So visit that site: here's the pop-up your browser will display:


“Welcome to America! Your rights are important to us. Press 1 to forfeit them and visit our country. Press 2 to retain them and stay at home. Para espaƱol…”

Posted at January 21, 2009 01:31