US share of foreign tourism drops

Why? Because plane flights elsewhere are cheaper but mostly because foreign tourists increasingly believe, with obvious good reason, that customs and security procedures are onerous and extremely unfriendly. So they are traveling elsewhere, this even when the dollar is low making prices here cheap for them.

Yet another legacy of eight years of erosion of civil liberties in the US by the neocons (as most of the supposed liberals in Congress did little to oppose.

  • It could get much worse as European travellers get pissed off with new legislation about to become law.

    According to a secret document recently leaked to the New York Times, American intelligence agencies will soon be able to access private and personal details of British citizens.
    Under the agreement which the EU and the US have been secretly negotiating for about 18 months, US agencies including the CIA will be able to view your travel plans, bank accounts and sites visited on the internet. They will also be able to demand your personal information from government offices.
    The US Department of Homeland Security expect the agreement to be implemented before George W. Bush leaves office in January. A source at the department said that as a result of the agreement the US would ask for full details of anyone visiting from Europe. The details requested would be, full financial details, bank statements, salaries, who they write cheques to and who they receive money from, what they buy with credit cards and what sites they visit on the their home computers.
    All this information is already available on computerised databases held by private companies that monitor each individuals credit rating for the financial industry and on internet search engines. Up until now there have been data protection and privacy laws to prevent unauthorised access but this new secretive arrangement would oblige companies to hold and hand over all this information to Washington.
    Soon there will be a flood of all our personal details flashing across the Atlantic via private companies and government agencies. At present we can’t even keep our details safe when transferring them from one government department to another, they seem to end up on a passenger train seat.

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