Government plans to test biometrics at the border

Monday, October 17, 2005 Page A8

Ottawa -- Digitized photos and fingerprints will soon be collected from thousands of newcomers to Canada as part of a high-tech pilot project aimed at bolstering border security.

The six-month trial by the Citizenship and Immigration Department represents one of the first federal forays into the new and controversial realm of biometric technologies, a rapidly evolving technology that worries civil libertarians who wonder how the data will be shared and used by security agencies.

Some biometric figures are already required from potential newcomers to Canada. The pilot project, however, will give authorities the tools to match photos and fingerprints against existing files to help screen out ineligible applicants, such as individuals on criminal watch lists. CP