Sunday, June 13, 2021

Canada’s Border Agency to Create Biometric Identity Office

The National Observer is reporting that "Canada's border agency has an "urgent need" to hire a global technology firm to help develop a biometric strategy in response to rapidly evolving issues including COVID-19. The Canada Border Services Agency issued a notice of procurement Monday inviting 15 firms to submit proposals for immediately setting up an Office of Biometrics and Identity Management."

"The agency also wants a strategy and road map for digital solutions using biometric-related technologies to address issues flowing from the pandemic and other priorities. Biometric information — a unique identifier such as an iris scan or a fingerprint record — is considered useful in managing the passage of people across borders, though it also poses privacy risks."

"It also plans to look at options for greater use of technology that relies on voice recognition and geolocation to confirm the identity and location of people required to report to the agency."

"The experience from other jurisdictions has been that, once in place, reliance on these technologies tends to expand rapidly beyond its initial objectives and frequently facial recognition technologies are repurposed for use beyond the border."

"Biometric recognition and identity can be highly intrusive, and we have seen significant pressure to adopt facial recognition technologies in particular at border crossings."

"Canada's privacy commissioners recently said respect for laws and principles governing personal information must guide introduction of digital or paper proof-of-vaccination certificates that could smooth the transition to post-pandemic life."

"The Office of Biometric Identity Management provides biometric match, store, share, and analyze services to DHS and mission partners. The need for biometrics continues to grow among DHS Components; interagency stakeholders (e.g., the Departments of State, Justice, and Defense); State, local, tribal and territorial entities; the Intelligence Community; and international mission partners."

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