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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Man uses iPad to cross US border (or does he?)

Canadian Martin Reisch says a customs officer allowed him to pass into the US with only a scan of his passport on his iPad.

Martin Reisch with the scan of his passport on his iPad which he used to enter the US from Canada.
Martin Reisch with the scan of his passport on his iPad which he used to enter the US from Canada.
Image: Graham Huges/AP/Press Association Images

Updated, 21.41

STEVE JOBS WOULD be so proud. A Canadian man claims to have put his Apple iPad to original use over Christmas when he used it to gain entry to the United States – in a completely legal manner.

Martin Reisch told the Associated Press that he had forgotten his passport but would have had to make a two-hour return journey to his home in Montreal to retrieve it.

So he decided instead to try showing a US Customs and Border Protection officer a scanned copy of his passport, displayed on his iPad.

Reisch said that the border official was not delighted with his alternative to a passport. He told the AP that the official “took the iPad into the little border hut. He was in there a good five, six minutes. It seemed like an eternity. When he came back he took a good long pause before wishing me a Merry Christmas”.

The 33-year-old claimed he had been travelling over the land border with the US in order to drop Christmas presents to a friend’s house in Vermont.

The Canadian news agency, CBC News, quotes a Canadian MP called Brian Masse as saying the incident was “troubling” because a scanned version of a passport “is not a secure document”.

This is backed up by a spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Patrol, who told Wired that the assertion was “categorically false” – and that Reisch simply wouldn’t have been allowed to move without valid identification.

In Reisch’s case, they said, he had presented a driver’s licence and a birth cert, which customs officers used to vouch for his nationality.

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Associated Press

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