U.S., Canada Share Sensitive Criminal History Databases


Thousands of times daily, Canadian authorities tap into sensitive U.S. government databases to check the criminal histories of U.S. citizens who are crossing the border or have been entangled in the Canadian criminal justice system, reports USA Today. The databases are an integral part of security operations for Canadian officials preparing for June meetings of the Group of Eight summit of leading economic powers and the G-20 leaders of developed and developing countries. The sessions have drawn thousands of protesters in the past, including last year’s G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh.

During the Winter Olympics, Canadian authorities ran nearly 10,000 criminal history checks per day, more inquiries than some U.S. states perform each day. Even more Canadian citizens receive similar scrutiny by U.S. officials with access to Canadian records. Since January, Canada has conducted 400,000 queries and the U.S., 1.4 million. The U.S. shares its criminal databases more freely with Canada than any other country as part of a treaty signed during the Reagan administration. FBI officials say the 9/11 terror attacks underscored the need for the information exchange. “Since 9/11, there is a feeling that we have to share this data,” which tracks arrest warrants and rosters of missing persons, fugitives and terrorists, said Roy Weise, senior adviser to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

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