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. banasy©

    Lee! Is that really you?
    Why aren't you blue anymore?
    I hope it's you!
    I've missed you! A lot.
    I was hoping someone hadn't chased you off the boards....

    There will be no way one God's green Earth I will ever have a wallet like that...if the establishment doesn't take good old cash, they can KMA.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not another imigration rant

      Better than tose crossing the Southern border.

      January 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. uscitizen

    Great ... what a joke.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    If it can be built, it can be hacked.

    No way, no how.

    And *this* story?
    Border guard disciplined, at the very least...what, he just took the dude's word for it that this was ok?
    Why, because it was purdy and new and shiny?


    January 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Wael Banasy, us folks here on the border, just never seen such purty stuff like that befo, an' we jus' figger what the hey, he look like a good ole boyee. We jus' let him git rat awn thru heare.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      He *looks* like a frickin' Iranian.. Yeah.. Up against the wall..

      January 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. leeintulsa

    It is I. For some time now, I have not been able to blog with my phone. I tried on the computer once, only to find the same thing. I wrote to CNN. 'Was it something I said?' I said. They wrote back wanting more info. I sent more info. They haven't written back yet, but I started posting and it worked. Haven't tried on my phone yet..

    No one can run me

    When I go, it's either technical difficulties or I'm dead.. THAT is what I was afraid you would think..

    Imagine.. I was afraid you'd worry.. And I don't *really* know you.. I don't know if I like

    January 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzy

    Hey Lee! How's it going?
    Hello banasy 🙂
    I'm posting from my son's smart phone.
    My baby boy is leaving tomorrow to be stationed in Hawaii for the next 3 years.
    I love you honey, your the best part of me (crying)

    January 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      hey, stationed in hawaii is alot better than stationed in.. well, lots of places I could think of.. Sounds like a helluva deal..

      January 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Wrong border, bc(iah)©, cowboy.Lol. Now I've git that Pace Picante sauce commercial going thru my mind...NEW YORK CITY?

    I *did* worry!
    I've askes several times where you were...and that I missed you.

    We can be friends and not know KNOW each other, yaknowhaadimean?

    I'm so glad you're back.
    I'd even say, I'm delighted!

    January 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Aw, he'll be back, and better than ever.
    And it's HAWAII he's going to...start saving up your $ now...

    Be sure and tell him what you have written, for it was beautiful.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzy

    Yep! He had me at Waaa Waaaa... He He lol
    Thanks baansy 🙂

    January 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |


    January 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat (in a hat)©

    What's that you say, aay ? Forgot your passport, aay ? Well, let me see that thing there, aay ? Nice picture of you, aay ? Okay, you can go through, aay ?

    January 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzy

    @ bobcat (in a hat)© . What's with you today? I see your more feisty today! What happened, did you run over a small child or somethin? LOL 😉 Just poking a little fun atcha!

    January 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bobcat (in a hat)©


    It's just been one of those days when I can't control myself. But hey, at least someones having fun. Even if it is just me. lol

    January 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzy

    Ah no, Laughing is the best medicine money can buy! And you've given it out for free today! 😉 thanks buddy

    January 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Sorry to hear about your son leaving. But I'm glad it's a place like Hawaii. What branch of service is he in ?

    January 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
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