Thursday, December 08, 2011

Trackable you

Tell the kids to become experts in data management, more news in the form of yesterday's Canada-U.S. deal that says there's going to be a lot of use for the skill in the Canada of the near future. The tracking of exits from the country is a brand new feature we will be living with courtesy of Stephen Harper, making us less free:
Airlines in Canada will be required to divulge passenger lists to Canadian security agencies with the names of everyone leaving the country, a practice already in place in the United States. Information gathered in Canada will be shared with U.S. agencies even for flights bound for other countries.
Here's how the Star puts it:
And personal information on a Canadian or anyone else flying out of a Canadian airport — regardless of destination — will be made available to Canadian authorities by the airline and can be obtained by the Americans on request.
So if you fly Toronto to Europe, or anywhere of a non-U.S. destination, the Canadian government will know about it, something that is new. Americans will know about it too, despite your Canadian citizenship and despite the fact you won't even be landing there.

To track this information along with the border exit-entry information, apparently a gigantic new database is going to be required:
"Ex-diplomat Colin Robertson told the Canadian Press this week that implementing the data collection for the entry-exit system could cost Canadian taxpayers up to $1-billion."
Right now there are many unanswered questions about how the entry-exit data of individual travellers would treated. How much will police get to tap into what are, migration databases? Will tax collectors get access? How far could U.S. agents reach into Canadian systems and vice versa? Will the data exist permanently? None of these details are clear at this time.
Here's a few more questions: On what basis is this sweeping new exit-entry database being justified? What is the threat that requires us to give up our freedom to be just that, free, to come and go as we please without our governments prying down our necks? Are these measures proportional to the threat? Or are we giving up our individual freedoms for the sake of eased border controls for business?

And why don't Conservatives track the things that they should?

I'm sure there will be lots more questions to come...