DHS distributes travel widget online to publicize new rules

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is making available online a traveler widget application intended to help people prepare their identity documents for the upcoming Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The WHTI Widget is an Adobe AIR application that runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Macintosh. It is available for free download from CBP’s “Get You Home” Web site.

Once the traveler downloads the widget and submits information and dates of upcoming travel, the widget provides a countdown timer and weather at the traveler’s destination. It also provides reminders to the user to obtain the appropriate documents before the travel initiative goes into effect for land and sea travel on June 1, 2009. International air travel requirements have been effective since Jan. 23, 2007.

The agency is distributing the widget as a complement to television and magazine advertising, CBP Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said in a news release.

“A digital strategy component allows CBP to reach audiences that are increasingly using the Internet as their source of news and information, especially related to travel," Winkowski said. "The widget, because it sits on the computer desktop, provides an ongoing and interactive reminder to travelers to get appropriate travel documents.”


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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