Can an iPad substitute for a passport?

Here is an interesting idea sparked by a man who recently entered the U.S. from Canada without his passport. Instead he presented the border authorities with his iPad, which contained a scanned image of his passport.   I wonder if this is a sign of things to come?  Read on:

Martin Reisch said Tuesday a slightly annoyed U.S. border officer let him cross into the United States from Quebec after he presented a scanned copy of his passport on his Apple iPad. Reisch was a half hour from the border when he decided to try to gain entry rather than turn back and make a two-hour trek back home to Montreal to fetch his passport.

He told the officer he was heading to the U.S. to drop off Christmas gifts for his friend’s kids. He said that true story, the scanned passport and his driver’s license helped him get through last week.

He said the officer seemed mildly annoyed when he handed him the iPad.

“I thought I’d at least give it a try,” Reisch said. “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.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it only accepts a passport, an enhanced driver’s license or a Nexus pass from Canadian citizens entering at land crossings. Canadians began requiring more than a driver’s license for IDfor U.S. land border crossings in 2009. Interestingly, the man was able to re-enter Canada on his way home using the same iPad method.  But he said he doubts if he could get away with that again–at least not in the near future.

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