I’ve often used this space to speak about my own privacy issues that have arisen while traveling. I think it’s because while you’re out of Canada, you are hyperaware of the fact that you have considerably fewer protections than when at home. I’m also struck by the differences in cultures and how that plays out regarding privacy expectations.
But the biggest concern I’ve remarked about is the entire process of going through U.S. customs. I’m glad to find out I’m not the only one sounding this note. Did you catch the letter Privacy Commissioner Therrien sent to several ministers, reported on this past week? It’s bang on. More coverage of it below.
I’m glad to see that Commissioner Therrien’s letter worked, too. I just heard that the ETHI committee is going to review the issues surrounding what privacy protections Canadians have while visiting the United States. I’m sure some news will come of it, probably as early as next week, since the hearings are going to be Tuesday. The big question I have is whether or not we can ever get the genie back in the bottle on this one. Now that U.S. customs agents are more and more experienced at confiscating mobile phones and laptops (and demanding passwords for said devices), will they suddenly stop because Canadians think it’s unfriendly and a violation of privacy? Is the only solution that we stop visiting? Would that make a difference?
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