Canadian and American border officials are sharing and collecting more of our information

Border officials have been extending their reach into the personal information of crossing Canadian and US residents
Samuel Helguero Montreal, QC

According to CTV, border officials have been extending their reach into the personal information of crossing Canadian and US residents.

Checkpoints have been collecting and then sharing intelligence on “legal residents” and “third-country nationals” crossing through the neighbouring nations.

The nature of information being gathered and traded by both Canadian and American officials was described in a press release by the Department of Homeland Security Thursday.

“[Officials] are exchanging biographic data, travel documents, and other border-crossing information” describes the department.

Efforts to expand the knowledge of US-Canadian border agencies began in 2011. That year, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper’ and US President Barack Obama introduced the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

The plan ostensibly aimed at allowing border agencies to keep a better eye on travellers—ensuring that they were welcome in either country and did not overstay their invitation. Verifying residency and history in either country, to increase security, was also a main concern.

“Information sharing is vital to protecting the security of our citizens and to our mutual economic prosperity,” reads an old press statement on the joint agreement.

Privacy Commissioner David Therrien has expressed his concerns over “retention periods” that may apply to travellers, and the “risk” that border data might be “used for secondary purposes.”

In other border news, late last month Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump agreed to allow pre-clearance for certain travellers in order to speed up travel between countries.

“Delays at the border can easily disrupt operations for Canadian and American business owners, so we want to remove some of these obstacles to expand trade while keeping our people safe,” Trudeau said of the agreement.

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Samuel Helguero
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