Man says passport copied on iPad gained him entry into U.S.
January 4th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Man says passport copied on iPad gained him entry into U.S.

[Updated at 5 p.m. ET Friday] U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the "assertion that a traveler was admitted into the U.S. using solely a scanned image of his passport on an iPad is categorically false."

The Canadian man who made the claim had a driver's license and a birth certificate, "which the [U.S. border officer] used to determine identity and citizenship in order to admit the traveler into the country," CBP said in a statement released this week.

Scanned images are not accepted forms of identification, the CBP said.

[Initial post, 4:01 p.m. ET Wednesday] Forgot your passport? There’s an iPad for that.

At least in the singular case of a Montreal photographer who left home without the important document on his way to the United States. Martin Reisch said he was able to show a scanned copy of his passport to an American border guard and was given entry into the U.S., according to news reports.

To be sure, the incident was not without trepidation. "There was a slight hesitation; he didn't really seem like he was impressed," Reisch told CBC News. But the guard soon gave him back his iPad, and he was on his way to Vermont.

But isn't this a technological breakthrough? Could this be the Apple-white dawn of a new age of digital facsimile?What would Steve Jobs have thought?

“He’d probably say: ‘Here’s something to work on for the future.’ Maybe have some kind of digital certification or encryption to let people travel like this,” Reisch told The Montreal Gazette.

The only problem? A scanned or photocopied passport is not usually accepted.

According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, Canadian citizens entering the U.S. are required to present either a passport; a valid photo ID;  NEXUS or FAST cards, which are frequent traveler programs between the two countries; or a certificate verifying a person's Indian status.

Brian Masse, a member of the Canadian Parliament, told the Gazette that a scanned copy "is not a secure document. That could be altered, and could also lead to some precedents that would jeopardize (border) security."

Reisch told the paper, “I hope the biggest thing to come out of this is that it becomes a catalyst to change the rules.”

What do you think? Is it time for a digital ID?

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Filed under: Canada • U.S. • World
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Brooklynite

    Gotta LOVE Technology...

    January 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. FDC

    Anyone ever hear of Google Wallet? It's an android application that utilizes secure encryption technology, which will eventually replace your wallet. Eventually, you will be able to pay for most merchandise with a simple tap of your android phone. Technology is great.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shorty

    so... you can scan any picture over any passport and... enter US wich burn milions-bilions to secure own borders HA HAA

    January 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Proud US Citizen

    where is my post

    January 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gonjala


    January 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Proud US Citizen

    The Technology should be built smart enough that only finger print/retina scan should be good enough to pull all the information about that person on the terminal screen for the authorities. But I think we need to set our basic infrastructure in order first before that can happen.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hawaii Five O

    The Technology that we know of that is!
    More to the point, the technology that the big boys want us to know about.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

    Maybe 20 years down the road, "if" I get stopped, and they ask to see my license, registration and insurance, I'll be able to give 'em a flash drive with all that, plus printable coupons for free coffee and doughnuts at any Tim Hortons.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

    I've yet to get busted for racing. 😉

    January 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    testing.. 1.. 2.. is this thing on?

    January 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. leeintulsa

    Well, at least it got that post in..

    January 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. leeintulsa

    DOH! And that one.. How come when I write something meaningful, it doesn't go through..?

    January 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    lol.. well, guess it's gotta be short and off topic to get through now.. wonder why..

    January 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    without a card, dude should have been against the wall. The border guard should be fired.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      There. Sorry, everyone.. And with any luck, I'm back.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hawaii Five O

    @ leeintulsa , Yur cracking me up! lmao 😉

    January 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
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