OTTAWA – Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is working on one of the final steps before a massive expansion of a system that tracks everyone’s Canada-U.S. border crossings and automatically informs both governments.
“The CBSA is in the process of completing a privacy impact assessment to ensure an appropriate balance between the privacy rights of Canadians and the need to secure the integrity of our borders,” a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in an email.
There’s no word on when that assessment of the more expansive monitoring system will be finished.
Canada and the U.S. already have a system of sharing the names, ages, nationalities and other biographical information of all permanent residents and visitors crossing the common land border.
As QMI Agency first reported Thursday, the CBSA will enlarge the system – first, to include even Canadian and American citizens at land borders, and later to cover all airline passengers aboard international flights.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada warned the government in 2011 that this kind of system can raise privacy concerns.
Commissioner spokesman Scott Hutchinson said officials are waiting for more information about the CBSA’s latest plans.
“We look forward to gaining further details and making recommendations to CBSA following our receipt and review of its (privacy impact assessment),” he said. “One of the key questions will be with whom Canadians’ exit-entry information will be shared and for what purposes.”
The exit-entry system is part of the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border plan to create a North American security perimeter.