According to Kingston Whig-Standard, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is testing out giving RFID (radio-frequency identification) cards to non-Canadian visitors crossing into the U.S. from three points in Canada. This program, part of the US-VISIT initiative, starts August 4. A snip:
- Travellers required to use the technology include landed immigrants living in Canada, Canadian citizens who are either engaged to a U.S. citizen or who have applied for a special business visa.
Theyâ€™ll have to carry the wireless devices as a way for border guards to access the electronic information stored inside a document about the size of a large index card.
Visitors to the U.S. will get the card the first time they cross the border and will be required the carry the document on subsequent crossings to and from the States.
Border guards will be able to access the information electronically from 12 metres away to enable those carrying the devices to be processed more quickly.
While it's only supposed to track visitors within the immediate border area, this seems to be to be opening the door to tracking people wherever they go, should it prove to be successul in reducing the admittance of terrorists to the U.S. But how on earth will we know whether or not they're terrorists? And with the breaching of security in all kinds of corporate environments that has led to an increased possibility of identity theft, does this not raise the risk more for visitors to the U.S.? If I were someone who fell within the program's parameters, I'd think twice about crossing the border to come to a meeting, that's for sure. While I think RFID has a lot of interesting, positive applications, this ain't one of them. Here's hoping the pilot turns into a total failure and isn't implemented more widely.