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Revised privacy awareness fact sheet on Enhanced Driver's Licence and Enhanced Identification Card

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Jan 12, 2010

In conjunction with the January 10, 2010 introduction of the Manitoba Enhanced Driver’s Licence, the Manitoba Ombudsman has released a revised fact sheet for those who are considering applying for the card.

10 Points for Privacy Awareness identifies privacy issues associated with both the Manitoba Enhanced Driver’s Licence (EDL) and the Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) introduced in February 2009. The 10 Points reinforce privacy issues that the public should consider if they are thinking about applying for a Manitoba EDL or EIC and what they should do to protect their privacy if they choose to be a cardholder.

"MPI and the Manitoba Government consulted us early in the development of the Manitoba EDL and EIC Program. MPI has provided Manitobans with additional information on privacy protection. Its policies limit the amount of personal information required to process an application," said Ombudsman Irene Hamilton. "However, we are concerned that these policies may not be properly followed to protect third party personal privacy."

When an applicant submits a document to prove identity or residency and it contains the information of others, a copy of the document is to be made. The information of anyone other than the applicant is then "blacked out." For example, if a birth certificate is submitted, it will normally contain the names of the parents, so the birth certificate is copied and the parents’ names are to be blacked out before the document is scanned into the database.

The applicant must acknowledge that this happened by initialing the copy. This is designed to ensure the information of others is not captured by the Program.

Privacy issues are discussed in detail in the EDL and EIC Applicant’s Guide, available online at and at MPI locations and Autopac broker offices. Hamilton stressed that anyone who is considering applying for an EDL or EIC should first take the time to read the Applicant’s Guide carefully.

Highlights in the Ombudsman’s 10 Points for Privacy Awareness include:

  • If you have a passport, you do not need a Manitoba EDL or EIC to cross the U.S. border.
  • Any new or additional collection of personal information and the handling of that information present privacy risks.
  • To qualify for the Manitoba EDL or EIC, a person will have to provide MPI with documents containing personal information that MPI will scan into its system.  Upon the person’s written consent, up to five provincial, national and international authorities will collect, use and retain some of the personal information scanned or inputted into the MPI system.
  • How personal information is collected, shared and protected is explained in the Manitoba EDL and EIC Applicant’s Guide.  Before applying, a person should read the Guide and understand what personal information will be shared, with whom and why.  The applicant should also fully understand and be comfortable with the documents that he or she will be asked to sign.
  • The U.S. requires that the Manitoba EDL and EIC contain Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology; the “passive” RFID chip used in the Manitoba EIC could, without protection, be read by an unintended RFID reader, allowing the movements of the EDL or EIC cardholder to be tracked.
  • The Manitoba EDL and EIC come with a protective sleeve that block the ability of an RFID reader to scan the card’s chip without the cardholder’s knowledge; if the cardholder does not use the protective sleeve, or the sleeve is damaged, the cardholder’s movements could potentially be tracked.
  • Once a traveller’s personal information is shared with U.S. authorities, the Manitoba Government and MPI have no control over how it may be stored, used and further shared. Information about Manitobans obtained by U.S. border crossing authorities (from any document(s) used to cross the border, including EDLs, EICs and passports) is stored in the U.S. for 75 years and is not subject to protection from Manitoban or Canadian privacy protection laws.

If Manitobans have privacy questions about the EDL or EIC, they should contact MPI at (204) 985-7525.  If they have privacy complaints about the process, they should contact Manitoba Ombudsman at (204) 982-9130 (in Winnipeg), or 1-800-665-0531 (toll free in Manitoba).