Customers, Customs and Avian Flu

Back from vacation. As Cyrus points out in a comment to my previous post, all embassies seem to lack decent service. I’m tempted to say decent “customer” service, but applicants are not really customers though, calling them that implies there’s an incentive to assure satisfaction. The challenge is incentivization without bribery.

The US has problems far beyond just having a call center for visa applicants. Specifically, it doesn’t seem worried about avian flu.

Upon re-entry at LAX, I checked “yes” on the customs form indicating I had been in contact with livestock. I had visited the Thakurgaon district where my relatives, like everyone else, raise chickens. There have been reports of recent outbreaks of avian flu there.

The customs agent didn’t ask anything about chickens, only if we had cleaned our shoes after visiting these areas. While I’m not complaining, it really seems like customs agents could use GIS to drill down into my travels to see how close I had been to high risk areas. I suspect if they do ever start using GIS though, it will be to fight terrorism. Slashdot points out whats in store for the US-VISIT system.

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