Here’s another item in the steady march toward tighter and tighter borders. Canada is moving ahead with a $92 million dollar electronic surveillance shield stretching 700 kilometers, from the Quebec-Maine border to the western edge of Toronto.
As reported by Ian MacLeod for Postmedia News, “A massive intelligence-gathering network of RCMP video cameras, radar, ground sensors, thermal radiation detectors and more will be erected along the U.S.-Canada border in Ontario and Quebec” as part of the Border Integrity Technological Enhancement Project.
The project was initially framed as heightened efforts to combat smuggling. According to estimates, it could be operational by 2018. MacLeod reports:
The network will be linked to a state-of-the-art “geospatial intelligence and automated dispatch centre” that will, among other things, integrate the surveillance data, issue alerts for high-probability targets, issue “instant imagery” to officers on patrol and produce predictive analysis reports.
“We do have [border surveillance] technologies deployed on a limited scale but … nothing in terms of the scale of this project,” Assistant Commissioner Oliver said in an interview. Unmanned drones will not be part of the high-tech arsenal.
Smuggling goods and people across borders is a longstanding issue. Obviously that now includes worries over terrorism, government surveillance and privacy rights. As mentioned in MacLeod’s article:
Some Mohawks have already condemned the RCMP plan for “high-tech weaponry” as an attack on their sovereignty and the economy of the Akwesanse reserve between Cornwall, Ont., and Hogansburg, N.Y.
Here’s more on the “big picture” of agency jurisdiction at Canada’s border and various security projects as summarized by a June 2014 article in Government Security News.