Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Passports and Privacy, it's getting personal

For anyone out there who is fed up with the complicity of our government policy with that of the US, feel free to begin tearing your hair out now.

Remember when we could just cross the border with correct documentation? Remember the simplicity and speed with which truckers and businesspeople could simply go where they needed to go by proving they were citizens of Canada? Then in reaction to a terrorist incident which involved Canada in no way whatsoever, the government of the United States decided that Canadians needed passports in order to shop for cheap mp3 players, books and fishing tackle.

We complied, after all, that's what good neighbors do, and began a process by which the funding, size, number of employees, number of offices or even hours of business of Passport Canada were not augmented in the slightest, while Canadians who travel to the US without passports all of a sudden needed to get them. Chaos ensued, and I had a tall beer from the sidelines. The panic died down a little when a solution was implemented: Canadians would have an easier time getting their passports as now any Canadian citizen with a passport could guarantee the application of anyone else.

How does devaluing the passport promote security in any way? And why are we convinced that the terrorists and fraudsters, ostensibly who we're trying to stop, don't have guarantors they can call on? Fraud and embezzlement generally are undertaken by white men with university degrees, and the apparent terrorists who seem to be such a threat to North America are well-educated, mostly by us.

It gets better. Last week a guy filling out his application on-line was curious about the site and changed a few keystrokes to see what would happen. Personal information including social insurance numbers, driver's licenses and so on were readily available. He brought it to the attention of Passport Canada who took their site down for maintenance immediately. When they did, they claimed it was for other reasons. The site is back up and the problem still exists. You can very easily find personal information on other Canadians from Passport Canada, which I would call the jackpot since they provide basic documentation.

This must be bureaucratic retribution for the elimination of the citizenship of those hundreds of Canadians who weren't grandfathered into the country and only found out they'd been paying taxes as citizens for decades because no-one told them otherwise.

I just hope there aren't any naughty naughty terrorists who know how to use an internet browser that want to pose as shipping employees and want to CROSS THE BORDER!!!!!!!

That's the only way anyone is going to fix this nonsense; the privacy and security of Canadians everywhere is certainly the second prize.

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