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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Death of documents?

iPad used as ID

I always make a point of scanning my passport before heading overseas, and keeping a copy on my laptop.  The same applies to any paper visas.

This isn't just because of the risk of theft or loss.  When China was first opened to Western tourists, we were in a group heading for the Tibetan border.  At the Canton Trade Fair, a man who was with our small party borrowed all our paper visa documents for photocopying on one of the display machines.  He gave us all a second copy, and sent a couple to officials back home. The rest of us thought he was being paranoid, but the copies turned out to be very useful indeed, when the originals were mislaid by the courier.
Anyway, a Canadian man has benefited from the same kind of precaution.

Before Christmas, he arrived at the US border to find he'd forgotten his passport.  Yet he managed to cross the border into the US using a copy that he had scanned on to his iPad.

Martin Reisch, from Montreal, said he told the official that he was heading to Vermont to deliver Christmas presents.

"I thought I'd at least give it a try," Mr Reisch said, the Associated Press reports.

"He 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."

Mr Reisch, who successfully managed to re-enter Canada later the same day, has said he will not forget his passport in the future.

I should add that he did have his driver's licence, so he did have one "real" document to help authenticate the electronic one.

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