Monday, February 16, 2009

Tin foil - not just for hats anymore

CTV : "The federal government is repatriating a database of personal information about Canadian citizens after warnings the U.S. government might misuse it.
The database with details about several hundred British Columbians was turned over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency last year as part of a controversial project to issue "enhanced driver's licences" instead of passports for land-border crossings."

The BC pilot project is the first step in a Canada-wide program that could have seen the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians handed over wholesale to American officials.
But the Canada Border Services Agency has bowed to pressure from privacy advocates and is recalling the database, with the U.S. border agency promising to erase its records.

The CBSA signed an agreement with its American counterpart to ensure that the information would be accessed only by U.S. officers at the time of crossing for border purposes only.
However, the USA Patriot Act could trump that clause, forcing the U.S. border service to turn over information to American security agencies.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart sounded the alarm about this over a year ago and also criticized the new enhanced driver's licences as creating a de facto national ID card for both countries.

Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told Canadians they shouldn’t worry about the sharing of biometric information with other governments.
"Your fingerprint's hardly personal data, because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world," he said.

As I noted at the time, having a glass of wine in a public restaurant is not at all like having your fingerprints fed into a database like Server in the Sky.

There's also the problem of identity theft.

Watch here as an ethical hacker drives round the block with his $250 homemade tracking device and copies the RFID tags, or radio-frequency identification device, off two passports.

RFIDs are used to track cattle and merchandise.
People with RFID driver's licences are supposed to keep them wrapped in tin foil.
Personally I don't think I'll have any left over.


Anonymous said...

Where did you go?

Alison said...

I don't know! And on a tinfoil hat post too!
Creekside just disappeared entirely leaving a blank white page with the word Creekside at top. Luckily I have a back-up ;-)

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