Border crossings are about to get more complicated for Canadians and Americans now that new regulations regarding the sharing of personal information have been installed.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) began a pilot project that allowed for the exchange of information on third-country nationals and permanent legal residents crossing the Canada-U.S. land border. Today, the project was extended to include citizens of both countries on top of the former rules for non-citizens.
In the plainest terms, the regulations allow border patrol service to know the personal biographical and legal information of an individual who is both either an immigrant and or citizen.
Crucially, the data allows both governments to "expand their situational border awareness so that the record of a traveler’s entry into one country can establish a record of exit from the other country", according to an official statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
"Biographic data," according to CTV News, can include information such as full names, date of birth, and gender. The inquisitions could potentially extend to information such as marital status, employment information, and the like.
While most of your biographical information is already on your passport and scanned at the point-of-entry into either country, your information can now be stored and shared across governments.
According to acting DHS Secretary, Kevin K. McAleenan, the United States wants to share information on travellers to "improve public safety, detect dangerous actors and those who violated their visas, and enforce our rule of law."
According to CTV News, there have been many concerns raised by Canadian privacy groups about the retention of information and the pertinence of such extensive personal data collection.
This new coordinated Entry/Exit information system between Canada and the U.S. will ultimately allow for better security measures.
According to the DHS, the system will "identify persons who overstay their lawful period of admission; monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs."
It's understandable that some people are concerned about this system, especially following what's currently happening at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Seemingly responding to some of the concerns, Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said that "the Government of Canada has [...] built privacy protections into the core of the Entry/Exit initiative.”
Canadians, expect your border crossing to become a little more personal.