Electronic passports can wait

The real story is the Montreal man found someone working for CBP who was prepared to act like a human being

There was a series of news items last week about a Montreal-based photographer who claimed to have gotten into the United States using his iPad.

Martin Reisch said he realized as he approached the border that he had forgotten his passport at home. He also realized, however, that he had a scan of his passport on his iPad notebook computer. When he showed the scan to the border protection agent, he was let through, he said.

Reisch then went public with the story and it made headlines around the world.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency responded by saying the man in fact had his driver’s license and birth certificate. Those documents were used to establish his identity and to let him into the U.S., not the scan of his passport, the agency said.

Reisch, on the other hand, said he did not have his birth certificate with him and, in fact, did not know where it was.

What is the real story here? The real story is the Montreal man found someone working for CBP who was prepared to act like a human being, not like a robot. It is more than a little disturbing that we find that newsworthy.

We want people in positions of authority, such as those patrolling our and our neighbor’s borders, to use a little common sense.

Various countries, including Canada, are introducing electronic passports containing a chip that will reduce the need for entry and exit stamps and visas. No doubt implants that will track our every movement will be next. Let’s not hurry the process along.