Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Photo-Matching Scheme Quietly Singles out Passport Fraudsters

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Photo-Matching Scheme Quietly Singles out Passport Fraudsters

Article excerpt

Facial-recognition scheme IDs fraudsters

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OTTAWA - Federal officials used photo-matching technology to identify 15 high-risk people -- all wanted on immigration warrants -- who used false identities to apply for travel documents.

The Liberal government might make the facial-recognition scheme permanent to help find and arrest people ineligible to remain in Canada due to involvement with terrorism, organized crime or human rights violations.

It's just the latest example of federal efforts to zero in on lawbreakers using biometrics -- physical identifiers such as images, fingerprints or iris scans.

The photo-matching idea emerged from concerns that people wanted by the Canada Border Services Agency might use fake names to obtain genuine Canadian travel documents from the Immigration Department's passport program, say internal memos released under the Access to Information Act.

"Genuine Canadian passports and other travel documents are of high value to persons who seek to establish false identities," says a memorandum of understanding between the border and immigration agencies.

"Individuals who have outstanding immigration arrest warrants can evade detection by law enforcement by using false identities to travel, or to live within communities while retaining access to benefits and services."

Moreover, fraudulently obtained travel documents can allow someone to slip across the border undetected, the memorandum says. These could include a passport, emergency travel document, refugee travel document or certificate of identity -- a document issued to permanent residents of Canada who are not yet citizens.

Initial encouraging tests led to a 2014 pilot project in which the border agency shared the photos and biographic information of 1,000 wanted individuals with a high-risk flag on their files to see if they had applied for -- or even obtained -- a Canadian travel document under a false identity. …

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