Any legal citizen of Canada can now expect a new change at the American border. Canadians can now have their personal information collected at the U.S. border. This plan is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan that started in 2012. Here's what it will look like.
According to a press statement by Homeland Security released on Thursday, all travellers that are crossing the border between Canada and the United States can now expect to have some personal information recorded. The data will include information such as full names, dates of birth, and gender.
This plan is part of the third phase in which the U.S. and Canada piloted the exchange of information on third-country nationals and permanent legal residents. Building on the pilot project, phase two included the countries institutionalizing the exchange of data at all common land borders in June 2013.
Now, according to the Homeland Security website, this third phase will expand the exchange of data to include U.S. and Canadian citizens and “continue the sharing of data on legal permanent residents and third-country nationals.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canadian Border Services will exchange biographic information, travel documents, and other information collected from individuals traveling between countries.
This data will allow both governments to expand their border awareness so that the record of travellers entering into one country can establish a record of exit from the other country.
According to Homeland Security, this information exchange will help officials identify people who overstay their "lawful period of admission." It will also allow them to monitor the departure of people that may be subject to a removal order, as well as assure that residency requirements are being met for immigration programs.
The actual process of collecting and sharing the information will be done “in accordance with each country’s respective privacy laws and policies.”
The Honorable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, has stated that while keeping the border secure, the Government of Canada is determined to protect the right and freedoms of individuals, through building privacy protections into the initiative.
About one year ago, Canadians were told that they could expect to have their phones searched when crossing into the U.S. border. This allowed border agents to demand the passwords to phones and other electronics without probable cause.
Homeland Security stated it was necessary because it was a way to counter crimes such as child pornography and terrorism.