Canada, Britain and Australia announced a plan to share traveler fingerprint data to stop immigration fraud. The U.S. and New Zealand are expected to join the initiative soon, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen.
The agreement enables countries to check each other’s fingerprint databases, but doesn’t give them unrestricted access. The measure aims to better detect bogus immigration and refugee claims. No central database of fingerprints would be created and all inquiries would be done anonymously. If a match was not found the fingerprints would be destroyed.
There are some privacy concerns regarding the announcement. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is asking for more details regarding the system. “Highly sensitive information such as fingerprints should be safeguarded with a correspondingly high level of security safeguards. Though threat and risk assessments (TRA) were completed, we were not provided with any details on the assessments, to demonstrate that business and IT controls are adequate, and were not informed whether action has been taken to address risks identified in the TRA – so we asked for more information on this front.”
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