Re fingerprinting in Brazil

A Brazilian judge in early January ordered police to stop fingerprinting and photographing U.S. visitors to Rio de Janeiro, arguing the practice might hurt tourism in the city. The judge, in Brasilia, overturned a Dec. 29 order by a judge in northwestern Brazil to retaliate for U.S. fingerprinting and photographing of visitors. (In January, the U.S. began taking digital photographs and inkless fingerprints of visitors from countries that require visas, part of a program intended to thwart terrorists.) The Brazilian practice led U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to complain about delays as long as nine hours for arriving tourists.

The ruling applied only to Rio de Janeiro. The judge left it up to the central government to decide whether to scrap the practice elsewhere in Brazil. Reaction immediately followed. On Jan. 12 a justice minister issued an executive order extending the country’s policy of photographing and fingerprinting arriving Americans for another 30 days.

At that, and in a show of goodwill, Brazilians began greeting American tourists to Rio with flowers, jewelry and T-shirts.