Tag Archives: passport control

Is this a face crime?

Face-crime?  I must explain a little.  I have been re-reading 1984 by George Orwell and in the regime of Big Brother one is always under observation so any facial expression that might convey your real feelings or thoughts can be very dangerous.  In Newspeak this is called facecrime.

So what has this to do with travel?  Well think about when you go through customs or immigration.  I don’t know about you but I always feel guilty and I am not sure why.  Is it the uniforms or the way they look at your passport photo and then at you.  Then I feel that I need to explain that when I had my passport photo taken I was wearing my hair straight and now I just let it go curly.  And the man in the uniform just stares at me as if to say “Why?”  And in any event how can they match my passport photo with me.  That’s not really me in my passport photo with that blank expression on my face.  I am usually laughing or crying – nothing in between.  So I walk up to immigration and hand over my passport with a big smile.  Yes this is me – big smile – curly hair.  Yes this is my passport – sullen face, straight hair.  What the heck?

Seems that our facial expressions and other bodily movements are very revealing.  According to a leaked CIA travel memo on Wikileaks  – Security officials, it noted, are more likely to single out travellers who exhibit “shaking or trembling hands, rapid breathing for no apparent reason, cold sweats, pulsating carotid arteries, a flushed face, and avoidance of eye contact”.   OK well that’s handy to know what security is checking for.  According to the Economist –

“When passengers collect their baggage in Mauritius, they are monitored by zoomed-in cameras so officers can study their facial expressions. Secondary screening can be triggered by switching lines in Cote d’Ivoire, appearing to study the customs process in Tokyo, and travelling alone with a backpack in Tel Aviv.

And if you do get picked out for attention, the CIA advised, try to avoid saying “ah” or “um”, biting your lips, adjusting your clothes, using expressions like “to be honest” and “swear to God”, and providing overly specific responses.”

So you definitely don’t want to have this expression on your face –

Image result for funny baby facial expressions

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