After Canada's privacy commissioner expressed concerns, the federal border agency is reportedly reducing the amount of time it will hold on to data on the cross-border movements of Canadians -- down to 15 years, from 75 years.
Changes to the way Canada and the U.S. exchange information would allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to collect and share data on travellers leaving the country through land border crossings. An entry into one country would serve as a record of an exit from the other, the federal Entry/Exit Initiative says. Previously the CBSA would not have information on when, or from where, individuals left Canada.
The new rules, which apply to permanent residents of Canada, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and third-country nationals, are set to go into effect on Monday. The information will be exchanged by the two countries in near-real time and stored in a CBSA database.
Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier has expressed concerns with the "far-reaching" privacy implications of the new scheme.
"Simply put, federal agencies must exercise great care in sharing personal information with foreign counterparts," she told a Senate committee in April.
"They also must ensure the veracity of any such information."
She was also concerned about "retention periods" of the data, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security documents put at 75 years.
The CBSA would neither confirm nor deny Wednesday that the retention period had been reduced.