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iPad Used as Passport to Cross US Border


While the TSA and INS aren’t supposed to let you into the US without a real passport, that didn’t stop a Canadian man from using his iPad as a substitute for his passport, which he had forgotten at home. Border crossings require passports these days, but thanks to a bit of holiday spirit, he managed to get himself into the US.

apple ipad passport ios digital document usa canada

I doubt that this will become a common practice, but Martin Reisch managed to get into the US using his iPad. He had a scan of his passport on his iPad, and he had forgotten his real one at home, which was two hours away. He was delivering some gifts for the kids of a friend. After a few minutes of deliberation, the border officer gave him permission to enter the US. He was also allowed to leave the US with the same iPad passport.

apple ipad passport ios digital document usa canada

I guess if the barcode is scannable, then it could be possible that this might become more a more frequent occurrence, but without the security measures built into a physical passport, it would be pretty easy to doctor a digital image of one. It makes you wonder what might happen if passports someday become entirely digital. Just swipe your phone or tablet, and go through.

apple ipad passport ios digital document usa canada

[via Ubergizmo]

Comments (5):

  1. kioskfan says:

    The ipad is not scannable by any machine I’ve seen as they use a narrow slot like those on credit card readers in any store.

    The security physically built into the passport is verify that the document is real but that becomes of little importance when you can scan it and compare it to information you have stored which I don’t believe they are now doing and here’s how I know.

    Last year I crossed from Canada to the USA about ten times and each time my Canadian passport was scanned by US officials and I was set on my way no problem until one day when the power was off at the border making the scanner useless. The guard this time read my passport and commented that I must not cross the border often because my passport was expired by fifteen months! He said I had an honest face and to get it renewed as soon as I got home and off I went.

    BTW Canadians do not need a passport to enter Canada.

    • just some security guard says:

      >>BTW Canadians do not need a passport to enter Canada.

      “Leaving the U.S.” (or wherever) != “entering Canada”.

      • Clint says:

        He said he doesn’t need one to enter Canada meaning he might need one to leave Yes, but to come back he doesn’t need a passport.

  2. Clint says:

    Also, no offense to stereotypes, but his dude looks crazy in his passport pic, if ever was I to be suspicious of someone it would be this dude in his passport pic.
    He looks considerably less crazy in the picture of him holding the iPad but still, if I was a border patrol agent I might be suspicious of him.
    He looks like the crazy guy from Prison Break.

  3. Clint says:

    Damn I suck for this but last comment, the iPad is scannable I have watched it done at airports for boarding passes, etc. granted currently at the peace bridge it might be something different but it wouldn’t be to hard to retrofit the machine to take both a digital and analog passport.

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