Canada Expands Immigration Information Sharing to Five Other Countries
Earlier in the year, it was announced that Canada’s main immigration objective was to broaden information sharing with the United States and its other central allies, aided by an information technology system.
Canada Expands Immigration Information Sharing
The new system will be put into place to exchange detailed information such as biometric data, including fingerprint and iris scans. Canada’s security expansion has raised concerns by many groups.
The most efficient way to monitor case-by-case sharing is systematically, which is why the Canadian federal government feel this is the next best step for security purposes. The government has already been sharing some of its immigration information with the US via the perimeter security pact, but now it plans to step this up a notch or two, aided in part by the former intelligence leaks from American spy contractor, Edward Snowden.
Snowden’s leaks have had a knock-on effect, with extra tight surveillance on Canada’s security relationship with its closest allies. Canada is part of the ‘Five Eyes’, which are made up of Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
From this year, fingerprints from Canada’s visa applicants, regardless of location, will be checked using a system that stores information about those who have violated immigration rules in the past, along with criminals and possible terrorist suspects.
The main reason these new changes are being put in place is to allow for more transparency and security in immigration, although there have been concerns that the sheer volume of data being sent overseas may not be kept as securely and under control as it should be.
Back in 2009, a protocol was launched which allowed around 3,000 fingerprints to be shared each year with all the member states. The new changes, which came into play this fall, raised the amount to 12,000.
The new arrangement with the United States is significant, but Canada is also working on enabling systematic sharing between other members of the Five Eyes, also. The biggest concern with this type of sharing is that once data has been sent to other countries, it could be vulnerable to alteration, which is why Citizenship and Immigration Canada need to be extremely cautious when proceeding with these plans, relying only on precise and accurate information to come to a final decision.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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