These conferences where people around the world meet should start to be hosted somewhere else. Not in the USA anymore. Somewhere in a country that welcomes people instead of treating all of them like possible threats.
Just organize All Hands in Berlin next year. Or Barcelona, or Munich, or Stockholm, or Amsterdam, or whatever. Just not the US anymore. Americans don't want foreigners on their soil. Or at least everything looks that way from the outside. Let them be that way.
Please don't leave us alone with these people. We in the US need you more than ever.
Both before WW1 and before WW2 there were really strong isolationist currents in US politics. I think that it's part of the "Chine syndrome": they're big, kind of isolated and mostly self-sufficient (or perceive themselves to be so).
People seem to have forgotten that the US opening during and after WW2 turned the US into the world's #1 super power. I guess it's hard to look farther ahead when you have pressing issues straight in front of you (immigrants "stealing jobs" and such).
> as a job-stealing immigrant, I now have 36 jobs and counting. I keep them in my basement like some kind of job dragon. what you gonna do
Edit: spelling of Friedman
Complete propaganda, the US tried to avoid European wars while profiting off them as much as possible. During this, they conquered huge areas of Native American, Mexican, Asian, and South American lands.
Almost all Americans think this sort of thing is nonsense. But the average American has little standing to hold the American bureaucracy accountable for its nonsense.
Americans, especially outside overcrowded urban areas, are courteous, helpful, hospitable people that are very tolerant of other people and ideas.
Sorry but they don't get off that easy when almost half of them voted Trump into office.
> Americans, especially outside overcrowded urban areas, are courteous, helpful, hospitable people that are very tolerant of other people and ideas.
I've found quite the opposite, out in the boonies you're more likely to get harassed when you're not the "right" color or religion. I've had some really nice, helpful people turn nasty as soon as I mentioned my atheism, for example.
8 years of Obama gave increased spying, kept the insane TSA, blocked people born in Iran from entering the country (independent of what nationality they currently have). Gave the ESTA Visa Waiver program, where you have to pay for getting exactly no rights what-so-ever. And as final insult, you are allowed to list the social media you use.
The American voter, individually and in aggregate, has lost much say in American bureaucracy. I don't blame Trump alone in this. Bush thought Homeland Security was a good idea. But Trump thinks the problem with American government is that he hasn't been running it. We'll see that that is a foolish take on things soon. Obama made the same mistake and had the same revelation eventually, hence all the executive orders and phone calls in his later presidency instead of laws and reforms and such.
I can't comment about your personal experiences in small town America other than to say that my experience is very different and that referring to areas epithetically (1) undermines your point. America is a very broad and diverse place, though, so there are idiots and bigots in places. But I would just like to point out that kind and welcoming people are easy to find. They don't make headlines. And good impressions don't last as long as bad ones, I guess.
(1) Boonies or boondocks implies a judgemental attitude that people are backwards or unsophisticated. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boondocks
That is not a valid argument by any possible mean. Everybody has the right to vote whatever they want of course, but saying what you said is like saying "people eat meat to piss off vegans more than because they like it". And regardless, the driving motive of something doesn't change the end result of such something.
People need to take responsibility for their actions. They voted for Trump and their is the fault of the current state of things. Period. The reasons behind why they did it don't matter and, frankly, it's also nobody's business.
Now try convincing someone. That is what I tried to do throughout the entire election, but the propaganda machine is treated as fact by many here.
These people get hung up on the idea that we can never leave the two party system, meaning no third party candidate will ever get elected.
Here in Utah, we did manage to give McMullin 20% of the vote, but that was still marginally less than Hillary (after salt lake county) or Trump.
Or... it's nothing like that?
I mean, I get the impression that some portion of people did vote for Trump to piss people off, but that's not what the parent was talking about. Saying that they "voted against Clinton more than they voted for Trump" means they cast a vote to avoid what they saw as the worse outcome.
Let me ask you a loaded question though: Are you white?
I am, and have had only good experiences both in NYC, LA, SF as well as a bunch of small towns.
If you are not white, or dress differently, or are transgender, I can guarantee you which of a small town or a big city would be more embracing. (On aggregate, there are of course outliers on both sides)
You cannot claim that people who didn't vote don't support Trump (or vice versa, don't support Hillary). There simply isn't any data to support this.
> Also keep in mind that most "Trump voters" voted against Clinton more than they voted for Trump.
You simply fell prey to a focused disinformation campaign that actively tried to prevent intelligent voters from voting and that worked, probably well enough to influence the outcome of the election. That's a hard pill to swallow and you'll probably tell me and yourself that of course that's not what happened, but it wasn't an accident you felt that way. The Russians are very, very good at disinformation and always have been.
You're smart enough to accumulate huge karma here on HN so I'm sure you're smart enough to figure out how voting works. Hopefully you'll manage to fight the confirmation bias you'll likely look for to justify your past actions and be able to make your future actions matter. A great many people wish they had your vote. Please make it count.
Also, it really reads as just a not-very-thinly-veiled accusation that people who do not vote for the candidate that you want to win are stupid and/or naive. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that, necessarily, but you might as well just say it. I disagree with both the rhetoric and the conclusion entirely, but your opinion is what it is.
Personally, I think this kind of thinking leads to the negative outcomes that pervade our political system. Even if third parties have no chance of winning, the idea that they might not be able to bank on the votes of people scared of the "wrong lizard" might force them to moderate their political stands.
And just like in every previous election, no one "listened" to the voters who voted for the spoiler candidates. No one said "if HRC or DT had just done x they would have gotten more of the Green Party or Libertarian voters." People who vote for spoiler candidates self select themselves into a group where they guarantee the winning and losing major parties don't care at all what they think. Voting for a spoiler candidate means the major candidates don't have to care what you think, and they don't, so you end up with even less influence than if you had voted for one or the other of the potential winners.
My third party vote in CA arguably has a bigger effect than a major party vote in CA, for the presidency in the general election.
By population, that's substantially less true - nothing I do in the ballot box is going to make a dent in a 60-40 split in CA, and quite a few will have to think just like me before it does. If you're in one of those parts, vote accordingly.
I assume, like me, OP was there. We tried to talk sense into voters, but this was the biggest concern for most of them. Here in the US, we have been stuck in a two party system for decades simply because of this (flawed) logic.
Most Americans won't change their behavior to effect a greater change unless they are sure that greater change will be happen because of their relatively insignificant effort. This is why we struggle so much with climate change, the two party system, monopolies, etc.
Irrelevant. What is relevant is that you can't claim that people that didn't vote at all aactually voted for Trump, which is necessary to support the upthread claim that nearly half of Americans voted for Trump. Less than 1/5 of Americans, and less than 1/3 of registered voters, voted for Trump.
Nowhere near half of Americans voted Trump into office. (Now, if you want to criticize a very large share of eligible voters for abstaining, that's valid, but abstaining isn't the same as voting for Trump.)
That is 19% of the total population. Reliable sources inform me that this may in fact be significantly less than half of all Americans.
The notion of the nutcase fringe in politics has been around for a while -- there's about 20% of the vote you've got to be very aware of. Where other voters are insufficiently motivated, or actively discouraged by various means (voter suppression efforts, media, uninspiring candidates), the fringe can win.
That said, there's a range of types throughout the country, and a worrying fraction are worrying. Or worse.
Yes, but it's a different decision than voting for candidate X. Facts matter in criticism.
Of course, even if you mean "Americans eligible to vote" or the slightly smaller number of "Americans registered to vote", the claim still isn't even approximately true.
I'm not sure exactly how we're getting away with having this ESTA thing at all for countries that are supposedly part of the Visa Waiver program, without them retaliating in kind. I only hope that we'll come to our senses and stop before they do so. But given that ESTA has now existed for 10 years and both parties seem to support it, I have low hopes of it going away.
The best rendition of the text on the I-94W form is undoubtedly Frank Zappa and the Ensemble Modern's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPPDrXHjJx8
Not to rehash the past, but I thought we had gotten it clear by now: voting for the guy does not indicate support. Americans vote for the candidate they fear and despise the least.
If you voted for Trump, you supported Trump. It's OK to change your mind, but people need to own and take responsibility for what they do at the ballot box.
That's exactly the flawed logic that is keeping us in this two party system. If we just vote for the candidate we support, neither Trump not Hillary would stand a chance.
The trouble with convincing people to actually do that is that most Americans feel the need to be on the winning side. "My vote is worthless unless it's for someone who can actually win."
Do you care to elaborate on this? That's incongruent with voting records.
I will say that America is very diverse. Various states and postal codes have wildly different attitudes about things and very few Americans want to change or homogenize that.
I understand that people from the countryside can be seen as kinder towards people they like but my impression is that hatred and prejudice is much more prevalent there... So care to elaborate if my impression is wrong?
That's not my experience at all. I dealt with more overt racism in NYC than any tiny red state town, and I've spent plenty of time in both. There are racist people everywhere, but even in rural areas, they tend to be ignorant and antisocial so they are not really in any position to oppress anyone.
People tend to mistake talking heads on TV for actual people. People also tend to mistake voting patterns for personal quality of character. There's a caricature on TV (a bigoted one IMO) that small towns are full of shirtless racist rednecks that throw beer cans at all minorities that wander in town. That's because it's a useful trope and an easy way to advance a narrative. Every all town church I'm aware of sends missionaries overseas to build schools, wells, etc. That doesn't mesh with the "we hate foreigners" narrative. I had dinner in a tiny red state town last week. The most popular place in town is run by Mexican immigrants. And it's thriving. Life is more complicated than most media lets on.
Even if we narrowed everything down to political views, the traditional red state view is that diversity in government (federalism) provides better prosperity, diversity, justice, freedom, and so on. Most red state types are fine leaving Colorado with its marijuana and Nevada with its brothels. They value the ability to self determine more than they value the ability to control other people.
Though this is a hard conversation to have meaningfully since different people mean different things by racism. The context here is a Northern European visiting the U.S. I think it would be a bit of a stretch to say they'll have a hard time in the rural south. I'd say (accented) rural Southerners would have a harder time in NYC than Scandanavian visitors would have in Mobile.
It's also a super weird comparison. Southern intolerance is subtextually about animus towards African Americans and Latinos. Nobody is arguing that a Scandinavian would have any trouble in Mobile.
Further: Mobile is a weird choice for a comparison as well, since it's comparatively urban and well-educated. Mobile is more diverse than many parts of Chicago. When we talk about Southern racism, we're generally not talking about the urban south.
Finally, and I want to make this point gingerly, but if we want to drag US political parties into this discussion, the Republican party is almost mathematically determined to be more racist than the Democratic party, which is a coalition of labor, minorities, and liberal whites. It's also just empirically true that the Republican party harbors more overt racists, but we don't have to dive into a lot of value judgements about conservatism and nationalism to conclude that; we can just observe that the Democrats have African American and Latino voters as one of the foundations of their constituency.
The assumption you build this on is that those groups are not more racist than the groups in the Republican party. The only way you could even make that kind of jump is if you subscribe to the definition of racism where you can't be racist if you are systematically oppressed in some regard. Is that the case?
If not, then you will definitely need some data showing that blue collar workers, minorities, etc have lower rates of racism.
The vast majority of racism I hear (assuming the definition based on race discrimination) comes from uneducated people, regardless of political affiliation.
Living in the bay area, I've encountered more anti-black racism from Chinese people than any white people. Should I take that to presume whichever party has more asians is automatically racist against black people?
Just because a party has more people of a specific skin color than another says nothing about racist behavior. Anything else would imply that the Bernie Sanders crowd is the most racist group of them all (skews very heavily white).
That's all I'm saying. I am not psychoanalyzing Republicans in general. Most Republicans probably aren't racist. That's not my point.
I'm really not interested in what you think Chinese Americans think, sorry.
Of course it can be bigoted. Those minorities do not make up a majority of the party and as long as they feel the goals of the party overall help them more than Republicans they will put up with whatever racist crap that comes from Democrats (e.g. "tell em you're a Muslim" Pelosi).
It's all about tradeoffs, a party that offers racist policies in your favor and/or the refusal to enforce laws that affect many of your people is better than a party with no favors offered, even if the former is filled with bigoted morons.
>I'm really not interested in what you think Chinese Americans think
And I never offered you what I thought they think, so go attack some other strawman to attempt to gain some moral high ground.
People in rural areas seem to think of "city people" as brash, always in a hurry, always on their cell phones, etc. whereas they themselves are courteous, friendly, would give you the shirt off their back, etc. I grew up in a small town in the south and heard this sort of thing a lot, but it's bullshit. It's just one parochial stereotype among many.
Looking at maps like these:
is always useful to remind yourself that there are still plenty of 'red' pockets in deeply 'blue' states and vice versa. In 2016 presidential election I believe there where only two states where all counties went Republican and two states where all went Democratic.
True. But you can not organise conferences in the USA. You can tell your employers that holding meetings in the USA is bad. etc.
(For the record: I never had any problems whatsoever both using ESTA and a visa. However, the process feels significantly more hostile and unwelcoming compared to other countries.)
Rennes is kind of a pain to get to, when coming from abroad, but the town and the people there rock !
Pragmatically, this has problems of its own. Most sufficiently large tech companies have a number of employees at any given time who may legally reside and work in the US, but cannot legally leave it and return. This is a common stage in the H1B -> Green Card transition process.
Honestly, which are the non US-centric sites in English language?
And much as I hate to say it: The Mail online
The Daily Mail seems almost entirely Daily Mail centric, reflecting nothing more than it's own bubble of reactionary bile and oxymoronic smug self-loathing.
I would assume that for larger conferences the tendency won't be as strong, but it'll definitively be noticable.
I also see this when doing business; when interacting with companies where face to face interaction is needed there is a tendency to avoid business that requires travel to the US. Either they come here or we find partners outside the US. I know of several concrete business deals that have been made with non-US companies for precisely this reason.
It is tempting to think that this might end when the current administration ends, but it may not. The reason is that the last 6 months have demonstrated how volatile the policies can be in the US and how easily and quickly things can change for the worse. This affects long term planning. You don't want to make long term commitments when you have no faith in there being a moderating force to smooth out the more extreme forces acting on policy.
On the other hand if you have the "good life", you might want to legitimately reduce access to it to those outside, especially if you view the outside world as some kind of second rate wasteland (or rich but weirdo culturally, e.g. EU/Japan) that just comes to grab a piece of the pie .
With its large internal market, the US was never much for foreign tourism, its average population never cared much for world affairs (except from intervening where their interests are and hating the "target du jour"), and it was never that open to cultural imports (foreign movies, foreign music, foreign books, etc) with the exception of British music, anime, temporary fads (like Caribbean music), and whatever immigrants brought themselves (e.g. national cuisines that got bastadized).
 or you think you have -- since in reality they are lagging in several aspects, from education to infant mortality, and the middle class is pressed too much, and let's not get started with guns, police violence, etc.
 Whether current Americans are themselves immigrants or children of immigrants doesn't matter much. It's not illogical or hypocritical to want to stop others from getting to where you've gone -- it's just selfish/self-serving.
 It's also not illogical to not believe that much in the "pie analogy is wrong because the economy-pie can grow" argument, because they (the US middle/working class) don't see it much happening in actual practice.
We already know that the totalitarian government that it's becoming is a threat to the privacy and rights of people worldwide. Avoid censorship and surveillance. Look for and build alternatives.
Nothing better to change deep rooted policy rot than economics?
For all the hate that the US is getting, it is still by far one of the largest countries that accept foreigners from all over the world to move in the social ladder and build wealth.
The lottery program alone accepts 45 thousand every year. You can get your mother/son into the US if you are a US citizen. I know many people who moved their entire families to the US this way. Sure the process was a hassle (a multi-year hassle) but it enabled them to access the US infrastructure.
Not that I disagree with your conclusion: I hope conference organizers (and other groups) do start focusing abroad. The only thing that the GOP reliably responds to is the interests of money. Start moving the tech industry abroad, and see how quickly they change course.
Trump isn't representative of the bulk of the GOP, in other words. When he's gone, you won't see this sort of thing re-emerge. As weird as it sounds to some, Trump won mostly because he was not Clinton, not because there's some ideology being advocated here (modulo Supreme Court justices).
1) That doesn't explain him beating out ~12 other seasoned GOPers in the primaries.
2) His platform.
3) Clinton was portrayed as toxic by attacks, not because she was. "But her emails" was something GOPers and DNCers had done for decades before and Trump staff continues to do today. It's not right, but it's not isolated and there are much worse things going on. It's not an excuse, but it was a distraction.
Then Clinton, a terrible candidate who may have been the only person who could have lost to Trump made a bunch of errors allowing Trump's campaign to flip those rust-belt states. The DNC owns some of the blame here for their long term strategy in those states (or lack of). The RNC also are reaping the fruits of having spent years whipping up the loonies in their party.
2) Trump's platform is Trump. Everybody knows that. He doesn't have an ideology. He contradicted himself all through the campaign so any platform is moot.
3) Clinton was unpopular for many reasons beyond the email stuff. In many ways she was a bad candidate. She was an ultimate political insider, for instance. Personal concerns aside, many people who voted against her were also alarmed that Scalia would be replaced with another Souter or Kagan. Even given Trump's capriciousness, they thought a gamble on a "good" justice was better than a guarantee of a bad one.
Probably not for several generations if the GOP get to stuff SCOTUS (which is looking increasingly likely with Kennedy's rumoured retirement and the age of the existing Dems on there.)
[Edit to correctly reference Kennedy instead of Roberts]
>I can't believe anyone on the US Visa offices actually doing their research on the person.
Suspect Palantir, or some other contractor having some shitty software to score applicants based on social media + web searches + magic sauce.
Do-Not-Fly is for people they fear might blow up the plane before it arrives in the US.
Many controls are done before leaving Sweden.
However, you only have to renew ESTA once every two years, not every time you fly. The DHS might have "discovered" whatever they discovered only recently.
I suspect there are a few confounding factors. Firstly, lots of non-residents travel to tech conferences in the US. This gives them a wider pool of people to reject. My personal experience is that US-Americans are underrepresented at conferences in other places. They're by no means absent, but it feels off to me.
I do think that even controlling for that it happens more in the US than other countries, though. Of my colleagues who travel a lot I don't know anyone who's had trouble at a border other than the US.
Also my experience. In a massive country like the US it's easy to get irate about individual cases like this but also important to acknowledge that in general it works pretty well. I know of more cases in other countries of this happening (including to myself) than the US.
Actually, they treat their own people like shit too, see the security lines at airports during the summer (O'Hare I hate you).
"They denied me entry on ESTA with no explanation. Already at check-in in Sweden. =( or rather instead of check-in"
"I only got to the airport locally. My passport was flagged somehow so the airline wouldn't let me check in, called to ask why... So they say"
Edit: ESTA is this: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
So the DHS denied him for some reason.
I had to make a new one on the spot, was no problem, but it seems that they will just approve the ESTA when applying for it, and then later refuse you if they want.
> Your travel authorization has been approved and you are authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
It then goes on to say (but this is the same for visas as well):
> This does not guarantee admission to the United States; a Customs and Border protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry will have the final determination.
Australia uses an almost-identical system (IIRC the US one is based on Australia's).
I am saying: "I agree with you that the webpage said this. The webpage should not say that, because that is not accurate or useful."
In your pursuit of antagonizing someone who agreed with you, you have now devolved into trying to nitpick details of a program you clearly don't actually understand, so I'd suggest you just accept that when I said I agreed with you that the wording was bad I did in fact mean it, and stop now.
FWIW, the last esta before the current one was not immediately approved for me. I did however get a mail after a while that it was approved and i get consistently mailed a month before it expires.
If your approval isn't immediate (mine wasn't) then you have to keep checking back to see if/when it gets approved - they don't email you.
You don't hear about the thousands admitted without an issue in the US every day. But of course those that aren't admitted show up here
May I also note some (tech people) display an increased level of naiveté in dealing with border people.
Yes, but that bias applies to every country, it doesn't justify the US bias of these reports.
Newsworthy people visit the USA more often than other countries due the concentration of a lot of companies and conferences. So, I believe denial of entry happens more often than in other countries.
But, there is also the running trend of focusing on bad/silly things happening in the USA.
I refuse to travel to the states these days whether for work or pleasure. The fact that it seems to be getting worse rather than better is very worrying.
I don't get it why they can't just do a passport check and be gone with it like the do in EU?
What's the point of the questions, last time they event wanted me to show them my return airline tickets (why? If I wanted to stay illegally I could have created those easily).
And the queues, after a long flight, the last thing you want it to stand in those long queues and waiting for hours to get to the hotel.
BTW. I'm white, but from Central Europe (Poland) - but why would I want to stay illegally in SF or Dallas when there are cheaper places with more Poles.
I won’t be returning.
But it's been friendly with bags searched nearly every damn time, and the clear implication that I am a threat.
I am a white middle class male with nothing against the US (and indeed a long time working for a US flagship company), but I am clearly unwelcome.
So I simply don't attempt to go any more.
I participated in a student exchange program that traveled to Russia the summer after the USSR became the CIS. At the end of that trip, we took a buss from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, which required a passing through customs on each side of the border back-to-back.
Exit customs on the Russian side were what you would expect. The group leaders carefully warned us to be quiet/polite/no-jokes, have your passport/visa in hand, etc. It was a polite but very strict situation that created a small but persistent nervousness.
After the very-brief drive to the Finnish side, the customs official that boarded our buss to take the group's passports noticed this nervousness, paused briefly with a laugh, and said to our buss full of students, "Don't worry! You're not in Russia anymore! You can laugh!"
This is a silly thing if you never travel, but if you travel abroad you realize that most borders are friendly except for a few countries (and the US is on top of the list for worst borders imo)
No it is not, read the comments here to see that many people even on HN are impacted by the US borders in bad ways.
It was at Calgary's airport. I was called out for a search. Then, border security guys spent an hour having coffee and my plane flew away. I came to them and made them have a very unpleasant conversation with me for the next hour.
They summoned their higher up, who came with an official entry refusal with no reason stated, citing that he has no obligation to give one.
The bastard had a badge with name R. Torres on it.
Nevertheless, I flew the next day on the same airline.
After a long flight having to deal with the delay and hassle of immigration seems much worse than it is. I really hate it, and the comments here suggest others do too, but if you look at what we have to deal with objectively it's not really that horrible.
It feels weird for me to be defending them, because of the crappy experiences over the years, but when it comes down to it I think CBP are far more reasonable than they are given credit for because of the crappy environment it happens in. If you were calmly asked the same questions by a sweet guy or girl on a chaise longue while being offered champagne and strawberries, people would have almost no problem even though it's really the same thing without the elevated stress level.
Regarding Daniel - like others here I'm sure it's because cURL has been used extensively for bad purposes he was kicked off the ESTA program. Yes it sucks that they didn't let him know in advance, and they didn't have the smarts to figure that he had nothing to do with the bad actors.
For me getting a visa was a pretty easy process. The interviewer in my country was a smart political science graduate and everything went smoothly. An inconvenience for sure, but hey this is another sovereign nation, why should us foreigners expect to be able to march in without playing by their rules, even if we don't agree with them.
Don't get me wrong - this situation sucks for Daniel and US immigration has massive room for improvement.
Very strange paragraph right there. I could easily generalize this to Windows powershell is increasingly being used in cyber offensives by non-state actors, let us eject Microsoft from the United States
And no that does not have anything to do with ejecting Microsoft from the US. Microsoft isn't a private foreign individual using a privileged entry mechanism in the US that given any reason whatsoever can be revoked in favour of a perfectly functional visa process that most countries have to use.
ESTA is only available to a few countries, and not all people in those countries.
I don't think Microsoft will be ejected from the US because of an ESTA invalidation.
Each tool can be used for good and for evil: risk management is primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss, and is embedded by the law for companies, and people too.
It certainly sucks, but your summary of the US legal system is irrelevant.
Spin it however you like, but the fact is that he was denied entry into the US?
Whether or not he can pay (time, money) to go in the future is irrelevant to being denied today?
Regarding the entire esta vs visas... I'm lucky enough to have passed painlessly through VISA and I don't understand the difference between them? You have to apply for both? You have to provide your identity documents, information about yourself, payment? The only difference I can see is that you don't need to visit an embassy? Why do we draw a distinction, other than marketing?
Having been a great admirer of the US, I can say that what I admire are some principles, principles that seem forgotten. They are probably forgotten because when you teach a CBP employee to look for only the worst of people, this will eventually find something suspicious in anyone.
The recent run into exploiting software vulnerabilities could explain why there’s a focus on developers/hackers. But just putting a critique is not constructive, remembering where we come from, what are our principles, why we have them, and their purpose, is much better to motivate why it's wrong to "discriminate" someone.
It's not just slow and annoying, it's wrong because he’s not responsible.
Cute girl offers glass of champagne and complimentary strawberry 'so.. I'm gonna need you to unlock your phone, give me the password to your work-related e-mail, your personal e-mail and all your social media accounts.'
Not saying it doesn't happen, just that it's easy to blow this stuff out of proportion.
That's what I'm trying to do here - offer the view of someone who does this every few months for nearly two decades.
I'd be willing to bet significant money that it was either a clerical error, or something mundane from his ESTA form that got double-checked and came up "no". I am willing to bet this because I have been in that situation:
What?! Sources please.
If you write a general-purpose utility and it gets included in some kind of bad software, the people writing the 'bad' parts aren't likely to include their details, but if your 'good' code has your details....
 Exhibit A: man curl
 CURL website
Same goes for wget, links, etc.
Sorry no sources, it won't take you long to verify this yourself using google. I'm sure there are competent infosec guys and gals here who can provide a better explanation.
Just because it went well for you doesn't mean you have to turn a blind eye for other people. As soon as you don't come from a list of "nice" countries crossing borders is a living hell.
I don't think this is true. The circumstances/environment are the same but compare entering America to entering any other country.
No country but America has ever fingerprinted me, searched my luggage, detained me in a small room with no explanation for 3 hours, forced the departing airport to search me again after security (on 3 separate but consecutive flights to the US, months apart) or made me spend more than ~10 minutes in a line waiting to get through security or immigration. America has done all of these things.
1 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/terrorist-watch-lis...
2 - http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/07/politics/no-fly-mistakes-cat-s...
For a person, this is their worst day. For a huge bureaucracy, nothing.
Disclaimer: I am a European citizen and by no means in favor of recent immigration policy changes of the US.
EU should retaliate (not of malice, just to force equal treatment). It's not a visa waiver if you can be denied entry so easily, as many people are. And of course not all EU countries are eligible.
But I think it would be wrong to have an eye-for-eye-approach. US Citizens should see, how easy it can be to travel to a country, without jumping through hoops like ESTA. They should feel wrong why they force it onto others but enjoy the freedom to travel easily.
Otherwise nothing will change. It's easy to start a "oh, they do it to us, let's annoy them even more" spiral and that would really, really suck.
They have been seeing it all this time, yet this is what you get.
In the mean time, I agree, probably a simpler yet more aggressive tit-for-tat approach would be more fruitful.
For EU it should be a matter of principle and backbone. They simply don't have them. EU has proven several times that they will look the other way as long as it benefits larger members.
I think the prime example of this is the common energy policy, that then Germany regularly fucks up with the OPAL pipeline deals with Putin.
In other words, we shouldn't only expect to rely on the guilt of having a pain free experience to make different others have less pain.
I'm not sure how one can improve things, but if it gets worse, they should notice things when conference delegates are barred from attending.
I'm not sure that 700 out of 1.2Million qualifies as 'many people'. Of course there's no way of knowing how many of those 700 are mistakes, but even if they all are (as I'd be more than willing to believe - government employees aren't high on my list), that's only a 0.06% error rate...
Same goes for any visa.
To get a J1 I had to deliver quite a few documents and go the local US embassy to do an interview there.
An ESTA you can do literally 10 minutes before checking in (I did it once), I doubt anything else than a few basic automatic checks are done.
I assume he's lost the price of the flight? Travel insurance wouldn't repay it?
If you're looking for better, you need to find a job to sponsor you and you need to go through the lottery (H1B). Or you need to work for a US company abroad for more than a year (L1). Or you need to get married with an american person.
You fill out a DS-160 and go through the process, but you don't have to get an ESTA. You are always allowed to apply for a full visa instead.
More succinctly, click the "May I apply for a visa instead of using the VWP?" question on this page: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-...
But those are more of a hassle compare to ESTA. Nobody from an ESTA country will do those if they're not immediately denied.
Notably, the Customs and Border Patrol officer at your point of entry can do this , on the spot.
The "Do Not Fly" list is usually for suspected terrorists.
Perhaps it was just a name-match? The wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Fly_List says:
> Many individuals were "caught in the system" as a result of sharing the exact or similar name of another person on the list
However, there are at least 82 "Daniel Stenberg"s in Sweden (and I'm surprised its not considerably higher that that!) https://personer.eniro.se/resultat/Daniel%20Stenberg
I live in Ireland and at almost every (all?) flight from Dublin to the US you do the US border control check here to the point where they don't even check your passport on arrival.
Second, there really is plenty of people with problems like that. A friend of mine travels frequently to the US and his name is the same as a relatively well known drug lord (it's a fairly common name, too). As far as I know, he's never been denied entrance to the US, but he routinely gets flagged, separated, his identity verified and his luggage checked. Usually, all it means is that when he travels with colleagues or family, they have to wait for him for an extra hour or two to get out of the airport.
 I think that, technically, the area of the local airport where they do that is considered US soil and, for all legal purposes, you are in the US. As I said, not sure about this and I might be completely wrong, but that's what the signs lead me to think.
Could there be a more benign explanation for this issue? For example: his ESTA approval expired (it's valid for two years), or the data entered on the ESTA form did not exactly match his passport data (special characters, middle names, etc.)
Filling out the ESTA form does not grant a visa, does not grant the right to enter the US, and does not even guarantee you'll be allowed onto the plane. It simply says "Yes, you appear to be a citizen of a country which, in general, has visa-free entry to the US".
Yes, it does not guarantee you entry. However, it does much more than just to check whether you have a required nationality. If that were all, the system weren't needed. Practically every country has visa-free entry for some nationalities and such travel authorisation systems are very rare among them. Airline know how to check if you have one of the visa-free nationalities and do so every day everywhere in the world (probably much more reliable than having the travel fill out a form, too – they even check again in the case of the US, as we see in this example). The US introduced the ESTA system much later than visa-free travel for certain nationalities.
Unfortunately as a non-US citizen I have to rely on the system. The alternative would be getting a B1/B2-visa but this doesn't change the fact that I could still be denied entry. (Of course this is the same, I could be denied entry to any non-EU country if they wish so.)
ESTA's purpose is to determine eligibility for VWP. VWP is based on citizenship of a participating country.
All other things asked for and evaluated by ESTA are things which any traveler, entering via any legal means, can and usually will also be evaluated on. For example, ESTA will usually verify that you have a passport which is valid for at least six months beyond your scheduled date of departure from the United States. This is not a unique requirement that ESTA, only ESTA, and nothing else anywhere other than ESTA imposes. A minimum amount of remaining passport validity is an incredibly common requirements, not just of the United States but of practically every country in the world.
You seem to be unaware that even if you fulfil the formal requirements, ESTA applications can and are being denied by the system (and are sometimes checked by hand which can take a few days). This can have all kinds of reasons. I know at least two persons that were denied their ESTA even though they ticked off all the requirements. Both later got a B1/B2 visa without any trouble.
I do not see how this is relevant in any way, or even what it is you are trying to tell me I'm wrong about, because every time I tell you how the system works you go running off to some irrelevant other thing. Please either explain clearly what point you are trying to make, or stop.
So, hopefully you will finally, for the love of all that is holy, agree that ESTA is the thing which checks requirements for the visa waiver program. The visa waiver program is tied ultimately to one, exactly one, and only one thing: "Are you a citizen of a country designated as part of the Visa Waiver Program? (Yes/No)".
Everything else is secondary to that. Everything else is details. Everything else is bureaucratic requirements like checking how long it'll be until your passport expires or looking for red flags like not having a return ticket, and those things get checked on everybody, even people who are getting visas. Meanwhile, citizenship of a visa-waiver country is the sine qua non of the visa waiver program and thus is the sine qua non of ESTA "approval" since ESTA's sole purpose is to check the requirements of the visa waiver program.
The Conference agrees on the need for significant
security enhancements to the entire Visa Waiver Program as set
forth in the Senate bill and to the implementation of the
electronic travel authorization system prior to permitting the
Secretary to admit new countries under his new waiver
authority. The Conference mandates that the Secretary develop
such an electronic travel authorization system to collect
biographical and such other information from each prospective
Visa Waiver Program traveler necessary to determine whether the
alien is eligible to travel under the program and whether a law
enforcement or security risk exists in permitting the alien to
travel to the United States. The Conference believes the
Secretary should check the information collected in the
electronic travel authorization system against all appropriate
databases, including lost and stolen passport databases such as
that maintained by Interpol. The Conference believes that
checking travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries against
all appropriate watch lists and databases will greatly enhance
the overall security of the Visa Waiver Program.
As you see, the main stated purpose is not the check citizenship but to query various databases in advance.
(For completeness I want to add that nowadays "You haven't travelled to some countries" is another requirement to use the VWP. The ESTA application also asks for things visa applications do not, such as the names of your social media accounts.)
ESTA exists to check eligibility for the visa waiver program. The primary criterion of the visa waiver program is... your citizenship. Everything else is secondary. All that stuff in your big quote? It's stuff that the US wants to check on everybody. The fact that ESTA checks it does not mean that ESTA is suddenly not a gatekeeper for the visa waiver program, or that ESTA is doing special extra checks above and beyond anything else, or that ESTA is somehow secretly doing something other than visa-waiver eligibility. The fact that ESTA checks it simply means that everybody, including people eligible for visa waiver, will get checked on those things. The difference between visa waiver and non-visa-waiver is not whether those checks are done; it's what country you're a citizen of. ESTA checks those other things because they have to be checked no matter what, and doing them in the same form makes things more efficient. Period.
The reason ESTA exists is, as you correctly note, that the US wants to do certain checks on everybody, including VWP travellers. Before the introduction of ESTA they could not easily do that. Now they can. The reason they ask for citizenship on the same form is then done for efficiency (to check all the main eligibility criteria as well).
The fact that ESTA collects data and later allowed to easily add additional criteria for the VWP and to collect a fee, was certainly not unwelcome by the creators (but this is not why it was designed).
Why have I even started to reply in the first place? Your original comment states
- "The online ESTA form is required to determine if you're in a population that's generally eligible for visa-free entry (so that the airline and other systems know whether to require a visa for you)." (it is not required to do that as history before its introduction shows – there are alternatives to do that just as effectively)
- "It simply says 'Yes, you appear to be a citizen of a country which, in general, has visa-free entry to the US'" (no, it states much more as evidenced by the fact that countless of citizens of VWP nations get denied their ESTA application)
I did not claim that it did. I was speaking only of the ESTA application itself.
It is automatic, there is no human oversight to it as far as i know.