Canada’s Globe & Mail report…
If your Canadian marijuana-buying data ends up on a server in the United States, could it make its way to U.S. border officials? There’s little to stop it, privacy experts say.
And that could have lasting consequences. Canadians can be barred for life from the United States — even after legalization here — if a border officer decides that they are an “abuser” of marijuana.
“Under current technical instructions, use in the last year would qualify as a drug abuser,” says Scott Railton, an immigration lawyer in Bellingham, Wash.
“If they were able to access that data point for home delivery and everything, it would open the door for more questions.”
A U.S. border officer who knew of a Canadian’s marijuana buying history could quickly put the person in an impossible position — admit to marijuana use and be banned as a “drug abuser,” or deny it and be banned for lying. (Immigration lawyers advise refusing to answer the question, which will probably get you turned back on that one occasion, but doesn’t carry lasting consequences.)
“American authorities are pretty greedy for scooping up information, and they clearly don’t confine themselves to the borders of the United States.”
And under U.S. law, Canadians don’t have the safeguards over their U.S.-held data that Americans would have, explains University of Toronto law professor Lisa Austin.
“In Canada, we would be protected by the Charter. In the U.S. we’re not protected by the Fourth Amendment, as non-U.S. persons, so there’s no constitutional protection for our data.”
Mastercard, Visa and the CIBC didn’t respond to questions about where credit card data is stored. However, the privacy agreements of all five of the big banks warn that customers’ financial data can be stored outside Canada, and be subject to the laws of the country it’s stored in.