Update: Repatriation of EDL Database

200902171545.jpgThe Canadian Press is reporting that the EDL database that was part of the Phase 1 Trial of the BC EDL program is coming home. Specifically, they write,

The database with details about several hundred British Columbians was turned over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency last year as part of a controversial project to issue “enhanced driver’s licences” instead of passports for land border crossings. (Source)

What strikes me as interesting/weird about this is that under Phase 1 of the BC EDL program no Canadian data was turned over to the American authorities! This was revealed in the BC EDL Phase 1 Post Implementation Review (Redacted), for which I’ve provided a ‘best hits’ document. Only in Phase 2 was any data sharing to actually start happening, and it was last November (’08) that Ottawa totally dropped plans to locate the Canadian EDL database in the US. This seems to suggest one of two things about the Canadian Press’ article:

  1. They are using old/bad information – the database has never been located in the US, and the Canadian Press is just spinning last year’s news about where the Canadian database was to be stored (i.e. on Canadian soil);
  2. Between the end of BC’s EDL Phase 1 and February 16, 2009 the database was offshored to the US. This suggests that the administrative issues that were limiting BC and CBSA from sharing data with American authorities was cleared up, and data sharing began, only to be subsequently modified in light of Ottawa’s decision last November. Were this the case, if suggests that there was a two and a half month delay between Ottawa dropping plans to house the database in the US, and actually shifting data back to Canada.

As/if I figure out what exactly has happened, I’ll let you know. Until then, it’s a bit murky to me (which seems to be a regular issue surrounding the whole EDL process – a general lack of governmental transparency concerning the whole process!).