Citizenship and Immigration Canada refutes claims of passport security risks

September 30, 2015 - 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has refuted claims by media that its new system is vulnerable to security risks.

In a written statement, CIC said it has been working on transitioning toward a new system that aims to improve security and integrate with many of its business lines, including the passport program.

“As mentioned in CIC’s 2014 Report on Plans and Priorities, the department’s Global Case Management System, which is used to securely and efficiently process thousands of immigration and citizenship applications, is now being tested by a small group of employees processing passport applications,” writes the CIC.

“The move to a new information technology platform to issue passports is being done in a very careful, controlled and phased manner. Checks and balances are in place to ensure issues can be identified and fixed, before the system is rolled out more broadly.”

Citing internal sources, a CBC report claimed that the new system was “rife with glitches, security gaps in 1st production phase”.

The report said that the CBC/Radio-Canada had obtained documents detailing that at least that 1,500 Canadian passports have been produced under the “flawed new system”, making it more susceptible to “fraud and tampering”.

The CBC report cited one government source who expressed concerns that the passports produced under the new system could be compromised and used by other individuals.

Since the CIC launched the new system, officials have been working to resolve hundreds of issues and security vulnerabilities.

For several weeks into the new process, CIC were asked by experts to stop production. However, the agency chose to ignore these recommendations and continued to produce the passports under the new system, according to the CBC report.

During this period, CIC employees were able to alter the photo on a passport after it had already been approved.

There were also multiple reports that the data contained in the database did not match what actually appeared on the passports.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.