privacy concerns with new! enhanced! BC driver’s licences

BC will be piloting a new, RFID chip enhanced driver’s licence that could be used in place of a passport to cross the Canada-US boarder (CBC, Globe and Mail). The RFID chip would have citizenship information, a photo and status to legally cross the boarder. The biggest privacy concern appears to be US boarder guards being able to access information from the RFID chip (like driving history) and that information being stored by the US government on their servers.

John van Dongen, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister dismissed these concerns by stating:

They do not access medical records. They do not access driver’s records. They do not access fines, tickets, penalties. They do not access accident history. None of that information is of any interest to the border agencies in either country.

I have had some nightmare boarder crossings into the US. I’ve been asked about personal information that is not related to my citizenship or eligibility to enter the US.A   My partner was interrogated because the boarder guard made a data entry error and pulled up the wrong file. I do not trust the US government, or its employees. This has become worse since 9/11.

I also have concerns about the RFID technology being used.A   While I heard on the radio that a metal sleeve would be issued along with the enhanced driver’s licence so that people with RFID readers could not access information encoded on the card, I would like to know more about about how the BC government is helping me protect my personal information.A   Some librarians and privacy advocates have had concerns about RFID implementation in libraries.A   I think the stakes are much higher than being able to track who checked out certain items of interest.

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