Will facial recognition at the United States-Canada border be here soon?

Documents obtained by media outline Canada-United States security plan

According to the Canadian Press, the Customs and Immigrations Union, which represents Canadian border officials, is backing the idea of a more secure border arrangement between Canada and the United States. The agreement, which both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and United States President Barack Obama have signed, makes the possibility of a formal North American Security Perimeter very real.

Suggestions by the Customs and Immigrations Union include an end to border closures, reduced hours at land border crossings, more intensive screenings of travelers and the use of a biometric facial recognition tool that would look for threats or wanted criminals.

The union submitted some of its suggestions as a part of a federal consultation on the United States-Canada border, which has been very limited to the public so far. The Canadian Press obtained the submission using the Access to Information Act.

Canada Border Services Agency calls for facial recognition software

Canada Border Services Agency, which is represented by the union, says the software can match traveler’s faces with those in computer databases. According to the documents obtained by the Canadian Press, while the overall plan is unclear there are references to “combined Canadian and United States screening efforts”, “suitably screened and secured cargo containers” and “matching of biometrics that enable the sharing of information on travelers in real time.”

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Michael Niren

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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