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Old 21-05-2013, 10:52   #1
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Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

I was wondering how much your home government learns about your travelling.

Do foreign countries report your arrival/departure back to your government, or does my government only find out when they see my passport next?

I am not doing anything illegal, but enjoy my privacy and really don't relish my government tracking my movements. I would prefer to sail out of my home country without even telling them I'm gone, and go about my life privately.

Now when I come back I would have to check in. As I said, I am not doing anything illegal nor do I want to so I am not going to sneak back in to my home country, I will go through customs properly on arrival. At check-in do they look to see everywhere I have been? Assuming nothing looked suspicious (ie. didn't visit terrorist training camps, or drug countries, etc), do they take a record of my travels?
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Old 21-05-2013, 11:11   #2
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

The countries you visited do not report back your visits to your passport's home country, if you are not being flagged worldwide. When you come back to your home country, the customs agent goes through your passport pages and look for foreign countries stamps, missing pages and obliterated data, before stamping it/clearing you. If he/she finds out that you traveled to a "non-friendly" country, it will be entered in the computer for further investigation. For example, vacationing in Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan and North Korea will automatically trigger an alarm/additional questioning and a meticulous search of your belongings. In addition, the State Dept., FBI and others will want to "interview" you about your trip(s). Mauritz
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Old 21-05-2013, 11:13   #3
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

If you don't check out when leaving a country, you may not get entry into the next. Checking in & out is part of cruising. You'll just have to live with it.

Privacy is fine but if you have nothing to hide then why try?
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Old 21-05-2013, 11:16   #4
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLGCrawford View Post
I am not doing anything illegal, but enjoy my privacy and really don't relish my government tracking my movements. I would prefer to sail out of my home country without even telling them I'm gone, and go about my life privately.

At check-in do they look to see everywhere I have been? Assuming nothing looked suspicious (ie. didn't visit terrorist training camps, or drug countries, etc), do they take a record of my travels?
Well, in some of the countries we have been traveling in recently, there are soggy boxes of immigration records dating back to the 1980's stacked in the immigration offices. I doubt any record of our entering/leaving are even making it back to those countries main record centers, let alone any other country's.

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Old 21-05-2013, 11:24   #5
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

On the flip side, the US State Department offers the "smart traveler" enrollment option. The idea being that although there is a theoretical chance of your government doing something nefarious with your data, there is a much more real chance of needing to inform you of a major problem affecting the country you're in.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but you're probably not that interesting for anyone to pry into your history and monitor your activity (nor am I). There are real bad guys out there and intelligence officers know that combing through piles of useless data, let alone investigating the wrong people, only allows actual issues to remain uncovered and concealed.

For anyone US citizens interested in catching a note from their local embassy in event of a problem: https://step.state.gov/step/
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Old 21-05-2013, 11:42   #6
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

governments dont track you unless they want to, and when they want to , theres nowhere to hide

dave
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:05   #7
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

Okay, thanks for all the quick responses. Gives me some food for thought... maybe I am just being too paranoid
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:09   #8
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

The comforting thing right now is that it would take a very high level or international cooperation for them to be able to track everyone's movements. The scary thing is, the technology is making it easier to do.

I can certainly see a day when systems are in place that will automatically relay digital data back to those who claim the rights to that information. Your home state is one, but corporations already do a far better job of tracking our decisions. Credit card companies and your bank certainly know where you are if you using their services. By going on this site right now, I am telling Google's various sales departments a bunch of things.

Remember, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you .
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:09   #9
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

I wouldn't be too sure they aren't tracking you, at least when you pass in and out of more developed countries at major airports and such. US passports now contain biometric data and rfid chips.

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Later in 2006, biometric passports were issued to the public.[21] Since August 2007, the department has issued only biometric passports, which include RFID chips. An issued non-biometric will remain valid until its stated date of expiration, with the final non-biometric passports expiring on August 1, 2017.[22]

A biometric passport, also known as an e-passport, ePassport or a digital passport, is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travellers. It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or center page, of the passport. Document and chip characteristics are documented in the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Doc 9303.[1][2][3] The passport's critical information is both printed on the data page of the passport and stored in the chip. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used to authenticate the data stored electronically in the passport chip making it expensive and difficult to forge when all security mechanisms are fully and correctly implemented.
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Old 21-05-2013, 12:40   #10
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

The RFID thing is just a quicker and more secure way of doing what they have always done: record who's coming in and check to see if the passport is valid. It's harder to forge an RFID chip and it's much faster to just swipe one than to aim the scanner gun at the barcode which was faster than typing the info in by hand.

The possibly-just-tinfoil-hat problem about RFID tags is that they can be read by anyone. The concern goes something like this: you have a passport card in your wallet without the protective cover, some guy comes buy and swipes a reader past your butt, and now he knows who you are and whatever else is stored on the RFID.

It seems like a lot of work to find out not so much: your passport number, name, and other info that someone can read on your passport. I've heard of people being spooked about it, but I've never heard of there being a real problem or criminals actually using it.
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Old 21-05-2013, 13:03   #11
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
The possibly-just-tinfoil-hat problem about RFID tags is that they can be read by anyone. The concern goes something like this: you have a passport card in your wallet without the protective cover, some guy comes buy and swipes a reader past your butt, and now he knows who you are and whatever else is stored on the RFID.
Like the OP, I'm not concerned about the nefarious crook who is out to steal my data. That's relatively easy to deal with. It's the institutions who claim to have my best interests at heart; governments, corporations, organizations, etc... These are the ones who make me nervous.
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Old 21-05-2013, 14:05   #12
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

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The countries you visited do not report back your visits to your passport's home country, if you are not being flagged worldwide.
I'm not sure that is completely true anymore. I know that the BVI have recently installed terminals which link to US C&I. So, although they are a minority, you can count on these systems being installed worldwide.

My friend works for ICE in the violent fugitive apprehension program (BIG DUDE!) and we have had a discussion on this.

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Old 21-05-2013, 14:49   #13
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

Some foreign countries have US Customs offices at departure airport lounges; British Columbia - Canada, for example. This speeds up the process, when landing at your home airport; no second customs check when you arrive. Mauritz
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Old 21-05-2013, 15:05   #14
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

If you do nothing wrong, no reason to hide....

Now someone steals your identity and does something wrong.
Many such nightmares have occurred, and no matter what someone can't clear their name.
Defense.gov News Article: Retiree Wages 10-Year Battle to Clear Name After Identity Theft

Best to just not have them find you.
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Old 21-05-2013, 15:21   #15
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Re: Passports, and how much info gets back to your home government?

I don't think there is anywhere in the world that one could "hide" anymore. Eventually, you get found. There would maybe be only one way to truly hide and that is to be really really poor and hide in plain site. You would be just one of the billions.

However, sailing around in a yacht with AIS, VHF, cell phone, computers, SSB's is definitely not the way to hide.

Now, if you didn't want to be "found" because you are just fed up and you don't owe money, aren't a deadbeat, or a criminal, then you can be pretty anonymous right in the good ol' USA. Of course, you still have to file taxes!
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