Every time you cross a border, the following information is captured and put into a database.
Date of birth
Mode of travel
Purpose of travel
Value of goods purchased abroad
This information forms your “passage history.” Computers analyze passage histories to pinpoint people who have suspicious travel patterns. These individuals may be earmarked for closer scrutiny by customs officials and law enforcement agents on subsequent trips.
If you are pulled over for a secondary inspection or search, even more information is collected and put into the database. This includes:
The reason for the additional screening
The results of any search
The border official’s interview notes
Details of any action taken
The names of your travel companions.
Below are some of the other things the U.S. and Canadian Border officer may be able to see if they want to dig deeper:
Any criminal history
Your citizenship status
Family members and relatives
Various types of tax information such as any Delinquent Tax payments
Complete history of all border crossings – including state ports where there are border checks
Frequent traveler memberships such as Global Entry or NEXUS
Renouncement of U.S. citizenship
Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
Protection/restraining orders for domestic violence
Mental-health information if it is captured because police services uploaded an attempted suicide. Hospitalizations can therefore be apparent. Either the US or Canada may deny entry to someone with a mental illnesses history.
Credit card data is available thanks to the U.S. Patriot Act
All of your contact telephone numbers
Your frequent-flyer information
The travel agency or travel agent you use
Any one-way tickets you’ve purchased
Your e-mail address
Any law enforcement intelligence information.
Your flight no-show history
As you can see, a wide range of government departments collect a lot of information. This collection can paint a pretty detailed picture of many citizens. And, last but not least, officials are free to dig into the internet to see what they can find about you – including in your social media accounts. You should think twice about what you put up on your social networking site and how it might look to a police officer without much of a sense of humor. Of course, that is always good advice – whether crossing a border or just looking for a job.
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