Canada, U.S. Sign Agreement to Safely Share Information

Under a new treaty, Canada will begin sharing information regarding visa applications with the United States to further security in North America. This data sharing deal is an effort to ensure that both countries are secure while streamlining the passage of goods and people. This deal also allows either country to share information with a third country after receiving consent from the providing country, according to Biometric Update.

When an individual applies for citizenship in America, government officials in Washington will contact Canadian officials to identify previously failed refugee claimants, individuals trying to enter under fraudulent names and deportees. This information trade allows both countries to trade information in the same fashion. However, both countries are making an effort to ensure that information is not traded with a country from which an applicant has fled, a country where a person’s family members live and could put in danger by sharing this information.

“If there is a positive hit, we will be notified of that,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told The Huffington Post. “If the hit indicates something problematic – that perhaps that person had previously been deported by the United States, or that in fact the person has an alias – then we’ll be able to more closely explore their real identity and whether they are admissible to Canada, or would constitute a security risk.”

Under this agreement, the name, birthdate and gender of an individual applying for Canadian or American citizenship will be shared by 2013. Biometric information – such as fingerprints and photos of these individuals – will be shared by 2014.

The sharing of biometric information involves countries such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen.