The Canadian government has announced plans to share information with the U.S. concerning immigrant applicants and refugee claimants.
The initiative is part of a broader information-sharing strategy between the two governments. It is intended to help bolster border security but is coming under fire from privacy rights groups.
Privacy advocates are concerned, in particular, with the exchange of information surrounding birth dates, fingerprints and travel document identification numbers.
“We will be watching very closely over the privacy concerns and risks it poses to people who face persecution and torture back home,” said Canadian Council for Refugees representative Janet Dench.
Officials with Canadian Citizenship and Immigration, however, say that the information exchange will only truly affect fraudulent or criminal applicants and will save millions of dollars in detention and removal costs.
“Case-by-case immigration information-sharing has been effective in that it has uncovered instances of foreign nationals using false identities, inadmissible criminals attempting to enter Canada, fraudulent refugee claims and individuals providing information on the immigration application that was not credible,” said CIC director Chris Gregory.
The information will be shared via an online database which would limit information so that neither government had full access to the other’s files. Additionally, information would be deleted after use.
For now the information sharing would only apply to immigrant and refugee applicants and not to American or Canadian citizens.
Source: Toronto Star