Privacy rights advocates worried about Canada’s ‘biometric’ data requirements | The Hook
Canada will soon start collecting fingerprints and photographs from citizens of certain nations trying to enter the country. Critics raise concerns about how the government will safeguard the privacy of those whose data it has collected.
Citizen and Immigration Canada announced 10 days ago a list of “29 countries and one territory” whose nationals applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit will be required to provide so-called biometric information at the time of application. For now that means fingerprints and photo portraits, but the term biometric can also include DNA samples and other physical measures to confirm identities.
Biographic information such as a person’s name, date of birth, and identity documents “can be easily stolen, forged or altered, resulting in multiple or false identities,” said the official government newspaper, the Canada Gazette. The immigration program faces a challenge: “reliably, accurately, and efficiently verifying an applicant’s identity.”
But the measure is not only aimed at identifying frauds who want to enter the country.
The RCMP will store the biometric information to check matches between immigration fingerprints and fingerprints of people of interest to law enforcement. All the information collected could be matched against unidentified prints; for example those collected from a crime scene, or also fingerprints of persons convicted of an offence, “or other prints of interest to law enforcement agencies,” said the Gazette.