Amanda Connolly reports:
Canadians crossing the border into the U.S. will soon have their personal information shared not only with the American government but among government departments and agencies as well for up to 15 years.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled new legislation on Wednesday afternoon that will see the Canada Border Services Agency collect biographic information on all travellers exiting Canada.
Read more on iPolitics.
If this is basically just passport info supplemented by date and time of border crossing, that doesn’t sound totally unreasonable. Well, until you think about whether either government does an adequate job of protecting such personal data and what would happen in the event of a data security breach. If Canada doesn’t require breach notification and is collecting U.S. citizens’ information, then maybe part of the deal needs to be that Canada agrees to notify individuals in the event of a data security breach.
And if it turns out that the U.S. abuses the information it receives on Canadians, does the deal call for the U.S. to actually delete all data previously stored? Do Canadians really believe that the U.S., once it has – gasp – DATA – in its hands – will actually relinquish it?
Something to think about while I go to get another cup of coffee.
Update: Here’s a press release on the bill.
By the way, the two countries do ask different questions at the border, as we noticed last week when going to Montreal for the Canadian GrandPrix. In both cases, we handed the border agents our passports, but in addition: when crossing into Canada, we were asked where we were from, what our occupations were, whether we had more than $10,000 in the car (“We wish!”), and whether we had any guns in the car. On returning to the U.S., we were asked where we are from and what we had been doing in Canada. When my husband replied, “We went for the Canadian GrandPrix, but the American team didn’t win, so fuck ’em, we’re going home,” the agent laughed and sent us on our way.
Approximately 30 miles south of the border, on the NYS Thruway, we saw border control setting up a mandatory stop. We had seen that same southbound stop on our way north days earlier. I wonder what questions Canadians are asked at that stop and whether those data will be scanned into some database. And no, I’m not thrilled that my own country would question me just for being on a thruway, but that 100-miles from the border bit doesn’t seem to give me grounds to protest…