Posted by & filed under Biometrics, Security.

Description: The federal government rolled out some details of its new 10-year electronic passport on Tuesday, saying the Canadians who know about the new document seem to like it.

Source: Globe and Mail

Date: Oct 28, 2010

“Generally Canadians are not aware of the project by the government of Canada to adopt the new passport, nor do they know exactly what the passport consists of,” a survey released by Passport Canada indicated.
But the idea of the microchip-equipped passport, which offers a choice of validity of five or 10 years, “experienced significant support,” the survey said.The new passport will contain a photograph but not biometric data such as fingerprints or iris scans.               Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Should Canada introduce biometric security on Canadian passports?
  • What would be the benefits of using biometrics in Canadian passports?
  • What would be the negativesof using biometrics in Canadian passports?

29 Responses to “New electronic passports to have longer lifespans”

  1. Brandon MacDonald

    While biometric security features might help issues such as theft and counterfeiting, there is little point in implementing the features if they are not the standard. If biometrics are not commonly used they would simply raise the cost of producing a passport without any real benefit. Biometrics are a fairly new technology and their implementation in the already nightmarish world of airport security could be a disaster if the technology fails, even on an infrequent basis.

    Once the technology itself has been improved, I am sure its benefits will cause more and countries to adopt biometrics as a standard security measure. Then Canada can consider adding the feature to their passports.

  2. Tyson Halmrast

    National security is always a priority among nations but there is a line to be drawn. I’m happy with Canada’s position to not include biometrics into the new passport model. Getting poked and proded has already become an expected part of getting across the border. Buying into more security measures at this time would be unneccesary until the features can be proven to increase national security. G8 countries should not lend themselves to a greater lack of privacy then any other country simply because they are in the G8. Yes, we should set an example for international security. Microchip-equip passports are a good first step.

  3. Vanessa Welton-Hagen

    Introducing biometrics to Canadian passports would be very costly and the benefits may not be as great as expected. It would increase the price of passports as well as the amount of time that would be spent in airport security would increase as well. This type of security would also have to be implemented, costing millions if not billions of dollars. There would also have to be some sort of disaster plan put in place if the system fails.

    Some benefits of using such a system may be that there wouldn’t be as many identity thefts and it would make it more difficult for someone to go through security that maybe shouldn’t.

    I don’t think, at this time, implementing such a system would be worth it. Before such a system is implemented all other alternatives should be tested.

  4. Dustin Moore

    It would be a waste of money and extra time for the government if biometrics were implemented into our passports. If this is not a mandatory part of the passport, countries will not be happy in having to buy extra products to make it work to understand the biometrics instead of just scanning the picture. It would be a great way to prevent identity and stealing of passports although you will still have this no matter what. Whether or not criminals are able to use the passports they will still find a way to sell it to a person who could use it at a bar or any other reasons. Like I said before it would eliminate the risk of identity theft because they could not use them crossing borders but the negative would be it would increase costs and also would not help in stealing or theft, because criminals will always find another use of them.

  5. Stephanie H

    As much as it would be some extra security by introducing biometric security on the Canadian passports I also have a feeling that the government would also use it for extra purposes and violate our confidentiality. So to answer the question no. However the benefit of using biometrics would be the security, I mean as much as technology has made able for people to copy our fingerprints and everything it still would make difficult. Well at least more difficult then just reproducing a passport. As I mentioned earlier the negative part of using biometrics in the Canadian passports would be not the reassurance that the government would not use the biometrics for other purposes and violate our privacy.I mean we shouldn’t have to give that up just to get a passport to go on vacation.

  6. Richard Beaupre

    I believe that electronic passports are definitely unavoidable in the future and will no doubt be part of every countries standard practices soon enough as the internet and other technologies have become in the past. The extended expiry date is a plus however with that being said I also believe that the new technologies will pose a possible risk as well; risks not only in the fact that you will now have your information more prone to identity theft as mentioned in the article, but also that if something were to happen to the international database that has electronic information stored about you. Say you were in another country and you wanted to go home but they were not letting you because the they had no clue who you were because someone had hacked there database and stolen your info. Sounds like a lot of future hassles.

  7. Troy K (U of L)

    I think that Biometric security in Canadian passports is something that is inevitable. There are 80 coutries that already use this and Canada is the only country in the G8 who has not put this in place already. I do not think that it is that bad of an idea, the new passport last for ten years which eliminated the inconvenience of renewing you passport every five. People are always going to find a way to commit identity theft as tecnology develops which is why identity protection needs to develop aswell. There may be increased costs but you have to consider aswell that you only need to face renewal costs every ten years so even if it was twice as much the cost will equal out and cost the same. It will also speed things up in the airports they will know with more certainty that your passport is you even if your appearance may have changed over the past few years.

  8. Josh F

    I beleve that Canada should implement biometric security on passports. I think it would make travel more efficient, and renewing it every ten years would be a lot less haslte free. I think that this approach to this new technology is going to be implemented whether Canadians like it or not. Some draw backs to this system may include violations of privacy. This would be my biggest concern. I think identity theft will happen no matter what type of approach you take. The government may have other purposes as well with this technology and information, but I believe it would make me feel safer in the long run, because it would be harder for identity theft.

  9. Jerica F

    I think that the way Canada handles passports now works great. Why would you want to change something that works. Sure it takes time and effort to go through the actual process of getting a passport but once you have completed this process there’s nothing to worry about. Sure there is the problems of having your passport stolen but with having your passport comes the responsibility of protecting it. If people are careless with their passports then they should have to pay the price to obtain a new one. Renewing a passport is also easy if you do it before the expiry date. Having biometrics and bar codes for security purposes is a pretty large cost and as said before can cause a major problem if something were to go wrong. I think that passports should stay how they are now.

  10. Debbie C.

    I don’t believe that Canada should implement biometric security on passports at this time. The world standard right now is just the picture.
    The added cost is not necessary and of no benefit. One thing that the article does not comment on is the cost of the new 10 year passport. Right now the cost is $80 for 5 years. Will the cost double for a 10 year passport? It would cost the government no more for the longer passport but I bet that they will charge $160. The convienience of not having to go through the renewal process would definately be a plus.

  11. Jen

    I think that changing the system is not in the best interest of our country. Yes, Passports can be stolen. But with facial images as our idnetity, it is more difficult to use our facial features as identity theft than it is to steal our identity though technology. We are extremely vulnerable to identity theft if we change the passport to a chip indentification. There is an increase in costs for technology updates and training to make the new passports, with no advantages because we are still carrying a passport, as we did before. Having our personal ID processed electronically from our passports, opens up so many new doors for identity thieves all over the world. I would agree if we used biometrrics, because I know that it would be my fingerprint or my iris scan that confirms my ID. Although, I am not comfotable with a chip passport.

  12. Jo-Anne

    According to this article, the Canadian Civil Liberties Union is concerned about confidentiality, and claims that electronic passports could “lead to surveillance and monitoring by unauthorized parties”, and could lead to increases in “forged passports” and “identity theft”. According to this article, 55,000 Canadian passports were lost or stolen in 2008 to 2009. If biometric data (fingerprints, iris scans, and the like) is included on Canadian passports, I suspect that Canadian passport theft and confidentiality and security concerns might increase exponentially. I question the ethics of use of biometrics on passports, and I think that if Canada does start using biometric data on passports, this might be quite a shame.

  13. Yuang

    It is pleasing to hear that the passport will be valid for five and ten years when it is in electronic form, if a lot of Canadian hear about it they will be very happy but the problem is mostly centre in personal information security, who can be so confident that identity theft will never have access to their information in any possible way. Even though Boivin is so concerned that there is a confidentiality of data that Canadian will be aware of, the fear of forging someone passport and identity theft will be a major concern to many Canadian.

  14. Dave D

    I’m glad to see that Canada is on the same page as the rest of the G8 countries by implementing this chip. I also like the fact that passports will be valid for 10 years since ,as stated, it is an inconvenience to update every 5 years. As goes for biometrics, I like the idea in a sense but also see many problems with it. Used properly it would be a very good system, however, it will be abused. Criminals will find away around to abuse it and use it improperly and get away with it. In that case it would be a big waste of money. Implementing biometrics would be very costly and since we know it will get abused there is no point implementing it.

  15. Jorin Gaudet

    If 55,000 passports were lost or stolen in the 5 year validity period that people have them, how many will they lose in 10?
    And if there is biometric security being used how much more money per passport will that cost? is it really worth it?
    The benefits are weak and not valuable to a canadian citizen. If they plan on implementing this system better aurguments need to be made for why we should let them.

  16. Breann LaBatte

    I think that adding biometrics to Canadian passports will cause a bigger expense than benefit, as for today anyway. The facial identification technique used now seems to be working, and as for the number of passports lost or stolen the numbers are relateively small to be considering such an expensive solution. I like the fact that Canada is on board with changing issues involving passports and I agree with the changing the validity to 10 years, as 5 years seems to go by quickly. Overall I think the Canadian passport system is working well and it is unnessecary to create solutions if major problems do not exist.

  17. Erika

    I think that the use of biometrics in Canadian passports is unnecessary. The investment would have such high initial costs that I think it would not be worth the change. I think that the implementation process of biometrics would be a very long process that would not operate as smoothly as expected. The change from the current passports to ones with biometrics would be very time consuming for each person as well. I think that a large percentage of the public—especially those that have not experienced passport theft–would be apprehensive about the idea of biometrics. The idea that biometric data could end up in the wrong hands would be a main concern of the public.

  18. Marcel Ter Denge

    Having a passport that is valid for 10 years is something that sounds appealing to me, and it is surprising to me that Canada is the only G8 country that that has not issued electronic passports to the general public. I think that introducing biometric security on Canadian passports would be a good idea, but I think it is ahead of its time as the standards only require a facial image. Some of the benefits of biometrics would be increased security and reduced theft. Some of the negatives could be the cost to implement such a system, the cost to the passport holder, process to obtain passport.

  19. Samuel Yung

    I personally think that we should implement biometric security into our Canadian Passport because it adds another layer of security when travelling. By implementing biometric security into our passports we could have the following benefits: 1) Decrease lineup when we enter back into the country, 2) less chance of stolen identity when travelling to other country (since we need to use fingerprint or pupil id). In the article, people are feared that implementing it might lead ‘to surveillance and monitoring of Canadians by unauthorized parties.’ I think that would be the downfall of implementing the system, just the constant fear of a chance where people could keep us under surveillance could make us feel insecure of being anywhere. Other than that I feel that using biometric system would help make our current system more efficient and easier to use.

  20. Kristin Q

    I am undecided on my opinion of whether or not the Canadian government should intoroduce biometric security to passports. There are certain benefits to this such as increased security against identity theft but if the governemnt is considering offering the choice of validity for 5 or 10 year periods I don’t see how that is changing much from today. The system used today works well, and by forcing the re-newal process every 5 years it adds to hightened security checks.
    There is a current version of this electronic passport called Nexus. I beleive they utilize retinal scans to confirm your identity, but other than shorter line ups going through customs and security at airports I don’t see it providing a huge benefit. I think there are far more serioua isssues pertaining to security that could use government scrutiny and a plan of action today that forcing Canadians to change a perfectly good and secure process, however I think if they allowed Canadians to switch to this over the course of the next 5 years there might be more willingness and less cost associated to do this when they have to renew their passport anyways.

  21. Shawna MacDonald

    I don’t think Canada should introduce biometrics on its passports. As a Canadian citizen with a passport that it is quickly reaching its expiry date, I feel obtaining the information to make my next passport one with biometric information is a huge hassle with little reward – getting a new picture taken and filling out the paperwork with the current system is hassle enough. I also feel like it is a violation of privacy and I would be concerned about security. I can however see the benefits in using biometrics with passports. Theft would be reduced and there could likely be an increased sense of safety when traveling. But I do think biometrics are a slippery slope, and if it starts with passports where will it go next, and when will it stop? It is also likely more expensive and I don’t want to be the one to bear the additional cost.

  22. Alfonso DeCicco

    I think its a horrible idea to introduce biometrics on passports, we are making ourselves more vulnerable to identity theft this way and making this data easier to get a hold of electronically. yes it is a microchip in it but there is still an added threat of having some steel the information off your chip and the electric imprint of our finger print.
    The only benefits i could see coming from this would make traveling to other countries a little quicker when going through customs agents and border crossing.
    Well some of the negatives are obvious for example the cost of a passport would increase tremendously, electronic theft of our data and it will create in inconvenience eliminating the mail application process due needing biometric data

  23. Carlos.Z

    As information technology can make our lives easier and more efficient; I am delighted to notice that technologies on the Canadian passports are becoming fundamental, not only for supporting the identification of personal information for individuals,but also for playing a effective role in the security strategies of more and more agencies . From my point of view, however, I believe Canada should introduce biometric security on Canadian passports. As with the increasingly technology development in contemporary society, all kinds of identity thefts will be emerged. The biometric security will bring us a new platform to prevent some ramification happened from the citizens, which will not only benefits for the person but also for the whole national purpose.
    On the other hand, there is no denying new technology will bring some problems. Such like, there might cost a great deal of investment and the relevant ethic issue for management personal information and so on.

  24. Adam Gilewicz

    I am happy to see Canada trying to come up with a better passport and I agree that it should be implemented. I dislike the fact that one must carry their passport to even the USA and any way this can be made easier is favorable. There will be a security issue with the new passports, but the government is behind the scenes protecting out information and so I have great confidence with this. It is a great benefit that the passports will last up to 10 years as it is a pain to renew passports as well. The G8 countries set a standard for the rest of the world and Canada needs to quickly follow the other 7 countries and implement this passport.

  25. Lisa Rox

    We, in Belgium, already have for example electronic ID-cards. For me, not so much things changed or improved. You can use it for example to fill in your tax statement in the internet, banks or offices use it to register their customers. To use it you naturally need a reader device. The use is connected with a lot of costs: introduction of the electronic ID-card, devices, change of the system in the offices etc.

    In addition you receive a code related to your ID-card. When you loose or forget it (happen very often), then you have to require a new one by the municipality, you get a letter with the new code and then you should go back to the municipality to change your code…

    There is no biometric information on the belgian ID-card. Only the adress and the information which were written before on it are now electronic registered. Only the name and some very important information like the birthdate are still written on it.

    Electronic passport in Canada could improve some processes. But there is a big effort and a lot of costs.
    The belgian system exists since some years and needs more improvements to be profitable. Our passports by the way are not electronic!

  26. Georgina Pina

    One of the benefits of introducing biometrics could be higher level of security when identifying the holder of the Passport; however it does involve a large investment in technology. For this decision process, statistics are a really important information source. These statistics show the generalised idea that Canadians have about biometrics, because they consider it as being dangerous to their security, they do not trust the government, so they are not sure about what use would their personal data have. So the authorities should first convince people that it won’t have a negative consequence and that it won’t damage their personal security, and then, they could implement biometrics.

  27. Dustin Lehmann

    I think that this is a great idea to have a passport that has a chip in it and a longer life. I’ve had a chip in my bank and credit card for awhile and think that its is safer. With passport’s going missing or being stolen, I think that the chip inserted passports make way more sense cause they can be safer.

  28. Jobbie C

    The Canadian Government should introduce the biometric security on passport but not at this point of time. The electronic passport can increase the security level of the passport and fasten the passport check-in/out processing time in the custom border. However, they should also introduce the fingerprint and iris scan to enhance the biometric security of the passport. The cost of introduction of all the electronic passport is too high, plus there are maintenace and updating fees as well. The government should do more research of the latest biometric technology and introduce the electronic passport when the cost is more reasonable.

  29. Scott S

    I totally think that the 10 year passport is the way to go. I also think that biometrics is a little to personal. On the one hand it is great that security will be enhanced but I also think that peoples privacy is also important. People will say if you don’t have anything to hide then there should be no problem giving the extra information but until there is no way for that information to get into the wrong hands I say no thanks. So I think that this is a good idea to add extra security to the passport I also think that it goes just as far as I want it to go.

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