Enhanced driver's licences concern Canada's privacy guardians

    Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Information and Privacy
    Commissioners and Ombudsmen

    VICTORIA, Feb. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Plans to consider or implement enhanced
driver's licences (EDL) in several Canadian provinces have prompted federal,
provincial and territorial privacy guardians to express their concerns about
the privacy and security risks of the EDL program.
    The information and privacy commissioners and ombudsmen today issued a
joint resolution outlining the steps that will need to be taken to ensure the
privacy and security of any Canadian's personal information accessed as part
of EDL programs. The statement is as follows:
    The US government is encouraging the development of alternative
requirements in order to prove identity and citizenship, as part of the
implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
    Canadian citizens already have access to a well-established,
highly-secure travel identification document in the form of the Canadian
passport, but some may want an alternative.
    On January 14, 2008, the Government of British Columbia and the
Government of Canada entered into a memorandum of understanding respecting the
issuance of an EDL to be used by Canadian citizens looking to enter the United
States. The Government of Ontario has indicated its interest in a similar
    Canada's privacy commissioners, as part of their role to comment on
programs that have an impact on individual privacy rights, express their
significant concerns about privacy and security aspects of EDL programs.
    No EDL project should proceed on a permanent basis unless the personal
information of participating drivers remains in Canada.
    There must be meaningful and independent oversight of how the U.S.
Customs and Border Protection (a unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security) receives and uses the personal information of Canadians.
    This must include regular reporting of oversight activities and
corrective measures to the Government of Canada and to the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada.
    Furthermore, the Commissioners continue to be concerned by the potential
threat to privacy embodied by RFID technology, which may:

    - permit the surreptitious location tracking of individuals carrying an
      EDL; and

    - not encrypt or otherwise protect the unique identifying number assigned
      to the holder of the EDL and would not protect any other personal
      information stored on the RFID.

    Finally, Canada's privacy guardians call on the Government of Canada and
participating provinces and territories to take steps to ensure the security
of personal information stored on the RFID tags embedded in enhanced driver's
licences by ensuring that:

    - robust privacy and security are built into all aspects of EDL projects,
      including by conducting thorough privacy impact assessments and threat
      risk assessments at the outset;

    - their EDL programs comply with applicable local privacy legislation;

    - they consult early and meaningfully with their privacy commissioner or
      other responsible privacy oversight official on all aspects of any
      contemplated EDL program.

    Ontario's Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, has said "I urge the Government of
Canada to securely provide citizenship information, upon request, to a
province or territory for the purposes of an EDL program, and thus avoid the
costs of a cumbersome and highly duplicative process being imposed upon the
provinces and territories."

For further information:

For further information: Canada: Office of Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy
Commissioner of Canada, Colin McKay, (613) 995-0103; Alberta: Office of Frank
Work, Information and Privacy Commissioner, (780) 422-6860; British Columbia:
Office of David Loukidelis, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Maria
Dupuis, (250) 387-0777; Manitoba: Office of Irene A. Hamilton, Ombudsman,
(204) 982-9130; New Brunswick: Office of Bernard Richard, Ombudsman, (506)
453-2789; Newfoundland and Labrador: Office of Ed Ring, Information and
Privacy Commissioner, (709) 729-6309; Northwest Territories and Nunavut:
Office of Elaine Keenan-Bengts, Information and Privacy Commissioner, (867)
669-0976; Nova Scotia: Office of Dulcie McCallum, Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Review Officer, (902) 424-4684; Ontario: Office of Ann
Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner, (416) 326-3333; Prince Edward
Island: Office of Karen A. Rose, Information and Privacy Commissioner, (902)
368-4099; Quebec: Office of Jacques Saint-Laurent, President, Commission
d'accès à l'information, (418) 528-7741; Saskatchewan: Office of R. Gary
Dickson, Information and Privacy Commissioner, (306) 787-8350; Yukon: Office
of Tracy-Anne McPhee, Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner,
(867) 667-8468

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