Monday, November 9, 2009

Canadians Could Face Eye Scans at Border

(National Post – Ian Macleod, Canwest News Service)

Homeland Security considers biometrics plan

Washington is turning to the next item on its security agenda: eye scans.

With the last of about 600 northern border radiation detectors having been installed at Trout River, N.Y., on the Quebec border, completing a continent-wide shield aimed at repelling the smuggling of nuclear bombs, dirty bombs and other malicious nuclear materials from Canada, every car, truck and passenger entering the United States by land from Canada is searched for nuclear weapons.

Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposes to spend billions of dollars collecting fingerprints and eye scans from all foreign travellers at U.S. airports as they leave the country.

Already, the United States demands biometric data, typically fingerprints and digital photos, from arriving air and sea travellers with visas. The chief aim is to try to ensure the person matches the individual who was given the visa overseas. Canadians and Mexicans are currently exempt.

Supporters of the proposed biometric exit check argue it will, among other things, enable officials to check a person’s biometrics against a watch list of known and suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators. Read more here.