E-passports for Canada in 2011 for greater security
Canada, 2nd April: The Canadian government has plans to introduce e-passports for Canadians applying for passports from the year 2011 for increasing security for the country.
he introduction of new high-tech document by the federal government is in line with nearly 60 other nations already making use of such high-tech passports for enhanced security and making the passports tampering proof.
The new highly sophisticated documents will reduce the risk of fraud considerably, claims Passport Canada.
The e-passports will have all the personal data that appears on the second page of the traditional passport booklet including name, photo, gender, date of birth and place of birth. Moreover, it will also have this data in a tiny chip having radio frequency identification along with capacity for enhanced biometric screening.
To know the views of Canadians regarding the use of e-passports as a measure to strengthen security of the passports, Passport Canada will have online consultation with the Canadians and the date and cost of e-passports will be set accordingly, stated an official spokesman of Passport Canada Jean-Sebastien Roy.
Moreover, the introduction of e-passports might get delayed by a year or two until 2012 depending upon the consultations with the Canadians.
Passport Canada is among the five special agencies of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada set up by the federal government to help bring desired improvements in services offered to Canadians.
Meanwhile, it is being feared that the introduction of e-passports might increase the incidence of misidentification, privacy, identity theft and the growth of surveillance of Canadians by the Canadian government, quipped a professor of Information at Toronto University, Andrew Clement.
As compared to the traditional passports which are valid for 5 years, e-passports will be valid for 10 years. The decision of introducing e-passports was stated in the 2008 budget and also in the Throne Speech in March, 2010.
Passport Canada had already issued nearly 25,000 special and diplomatic e-passports in January 2009 and till now, the experience has been quite smooth, asserted Roy.