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©

    You keep beating me to the punch, l.
    Okay, eh, you've brought back some great memories...

    Take off, eh?

    Jeez, it *was* the late 70's when I first saw that show...

    (Sorry! Dislike Geddy Lee. Unless he's related to you. Then I love him.)

    January 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzy

    @ bobcat (in a hat)© , Hail to the King!!!! LMO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I still want to play Beer Hunter.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzy

    what's Beer Hunter?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    You forgot to say, "You like me! Your really like me!" à la Sally Field.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzy

    Na... I'll one up on that one banasy
    Remember the STREAKER ?
    LAMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    January 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzy

    Ok, I'll say it
    I feel like we need to go down to Colorado and grab Philip! Then go up into the mountians with Marshmallows and sing camp fire songs while Lee and Bobcat pass the BONG around! He He 🙂

    January 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Yeah, I forgot about that one. That was another hilarious memorable.
    Wow, we really do go back a ways. don't we ?

    Young people are like, What the hell are talking about aay ?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)©

    That was funny Jazzy. You're starting to get on a roll here. Keep it up.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzy

    oh Your giving me waaaayyyy to much AMO, LOL 🙂

    January 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzy

    Nite all
    Last night with my son so we're gonna watch a movie together.
    Nite: Lee, banasy, Bobcat and el at
    Is that right ? 🙂

    January 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Goodnite Jazzy. Have a good time with your son.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    @Hazzy: yep! David Niven was hosting or presenting...

    I must decline your kind invitation to camp, and one caveat: don't drink the bong water!

    Et al was absolutely correct.

    Hug your son. Keep him close in your heart.

    Good night.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Jeez! I meant Jazzy, not Hazzy.


    January 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andreas Moser

    I'll rather carry a passport with me than a clunky iPad.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
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