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US wants freer hand searching Norway biometric databases when visitors show up

US wants freer hand searching Norway biometric databases when visitors show up

The U.S. is making a new data-access demand of Norway in return for visa-free travel between them.

There are reports that Washington’s Homeland Security Department wants to move from having to ask for biometric and criminal data about Norwegian visitors and instead doing searches itself.

No agreement has been announced.

In an existing agreement similar to one the U.S. has signed with other favored nations, Washington relaxes visa requirements of Norwegians wanting to travel to the country. The U.S. and EU have struggled to come to a similar agreement.

To get that deal – considered very attractive for visiting nations – Norway began sharing results of fingerprint match requests last summer. A DNA component of the arrangement has not been implemented.

U.S. officials get some identity, background and advance itinerary information reportedly useful in spotting terrorists from Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications.

Now the U.S. wants Norway to share police databases so that American border officials can get information about its residents seeking entry through automated searches.

Norwegian officials get access to Homeland Security data. And leisure and business travelers escape getting a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

There are concerns among privacy advocates that the new terms give the U.S. unfettered access to multiple national databases which include sensitive personal data.

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