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. bobcat (in a hat)©

    And I think I know why I'm so feisty today. I picked up my catnip from a new source today, and it's more potent than usual. Meowr.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzy

    The Navy. But I've accidently said the Army and Oboi! did I get it... apparently all the other branches of the military think the army is the dumbest out of all. Lol

    January 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Now you sound like Doug and Dave from SCTV, eh? Hoser!
    Let's go beer hunting together, eh?

    New catnip, eh? Rawr!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      oh, b.. a swing and a miss.. bob and doug.. mckenzie.. you were close, though..

      ya know how to get free beer? you take a mouse.. when, it's, like, small enough to fit in the hole at the top of the bottle, eh?.. and you, like, put it in there, eh?.. and then ya take it back to the beer manufacturing place, eh?, and ya tell em, 'hey, I found a mouse in my beer, eh?' and they give ya free beer, eh?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I think all branches of the service think their particular branch is the best...

    It's cool. He'll be fine.
    3 years fly by fast, trust me!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzy

    @ bobcat (in a hat)© , Well just don't go up into the Colorado mountians with that stuff! I hear that them their CATS will come right up to ya; and if yur packing that stuff! watch out buddy . 😉 he he

    January 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzy

    Yes! 😉 at our age the years DO fly bye don't they? lol

    January 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Wow, Doug and Dave. I'd forgotten about those guys. aay ? And this new catnip is defintely the cat's Meowr.


    banasy is right. That time will go fast. You'll see. Are you planning on going for a visit ?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzy

    I think leeintulsa and bobcat (in a hat)© have been smoking from the same BONG!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Impossible.. we're miles apart..

      Best poster of the day..?! I just got here.. gimme a minute.. He went along with banasy's dave and doug assertion.. It's bob and doug.. cooooo loo koo koo koo koo koo koo!! Take off! To the great white north.. Take off! It's a beauty way to go! Take off! To the great white north..

      With Geddy Lee.. From Rush. Hey, Geddy. How's it goin', Geddy?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzy

    @ bobcat (in a hat)© , Most definately 😉 and I see my 8:15 post was correct! he he 😉

    January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Hey I figure if those cats get into my nip, they'll have the cheshire smile just like me.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzy

    😉 LMAO! Yur the best pal, Gotta give the award to; bobcat (in a hat)© for best poster of the day!
    And who would like to thank Bobcat?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Yeah, that's right, Bob and Doug aay ? My mind doesn't stretch back as far anymore. aay?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey

      And it's EH not aay

      January 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Bob and Doug! That's right! One of them was played by Dave Thomas! That's where I git the Dave at...I can still do that stupid sound they made in the beginning of the show, eh?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Dave Thomas was Doug, and Bob was Rick Moranis..

      January 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    I have, on VHS, Strange Brew.. lol..

    January 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      Strange Brew was killer. L'dMAO

      January 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)©

    I would like to thank all my friends on thes posts who have made this day possible. Today-ay-ay-ay-ay, I-I-I-I-I am-am-am-am-am the- the -the -the-the happiest-happiest-happiest-happiest man-man-man-man-man on -on-on-on-on the-the-the-the-the-the- planet-planet-planet-planet-planet.
    And of course I can't leave out my new catnip supplier, whose product has bent my mind in to this shape today

    Thank you one and all.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
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