Flying south? You’ll need Homeland Security clearance first - Macleans.ca

Flying south? You’ll need Homeland Security clearance first

Canadian airlines will soon have to forward passenger lists to U.S. for approval

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A word of caution for Canadians planning to fly to, from or over America: whether or not you’re allowed to board the plane will soon be up to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Starting in December, Canadian airlines will have to transfer personal information of passengers to Homeland Security as part of Secure Flight, the U.S.’s newest weapon in the war on terror. Though Secure Flight was part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 2004, Canadian Parliament has yet to weigh in on the program—either formally or informally. Despite the Montreal Gazette’s attempts to procure a comment from Canadian authorities, the best the paper could garner was this, from David Charbonneau, a Public Safety Canada spokesperson: “Canada works in partnership with the United States, as well as with other allies, on aviation safety and security. Canada’s approach will continue to balance the privacy rights of travellers with the need to keep the public safe from terrorist and other threats to the air transportation system.” While U.S. officials maintain that the program will reduce the number of false positives on no-fly lists, some say it risks branding innocents as suspected terrorists. Although personal information of passengers that don’t match the watch list will be purged within 72 hours, the information of those deemed a “potential match” will be retained for seven years. Passengers deemed to be “positive match” can expect their information to remain on file for 99 years.

Montreal Gazette

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