Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tourism & Technology Thursday - Crossing into USA with iPad

Since the signing of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), USA customs officials have been strict about passports being mandatory to enter into the country.  Last week, as reported in the Globe & mail here, a gentleman by the name of Martin Reisch was able to enter into the USA from Canada using a scanned copy of his passport which was located on his iPad.
This issue is complex.  When crossing a border, the guard scans the passport which checks the individual's records (and includes the picture of the person on a passport)  against a series of databases as well as recording the individual's entry (date, type of car, license plate & travel partners).  If the guard can scan the bar code from a copied version, there should be little issue with using it.  In reality, the passport maybe an outdated concept.

Think about this for a moment,

What if an individual could provide a fingerprint scan which is used at a border?   Each person when crossing could provide a finger print scan and one would not have to worry about losing their passport.  Yes, there are privacy issues but are they any worse than the full body scanners used at airports (a future Tourism and Technology post surely).  Heck, updating your passport could then be done online with you uploading a picture and updating your information.  Interesting story indeed...


  1. that's just crazy, what if he was here to blow up something.....they would have only had themselves to blame....Technology is making it way to easy for people to do the wrong thing.

  2. I can't believe this is possible with security the way it is these days. It's pretty scary stuff. Makes you realize we may not be as secure as we would like to think.