I went to the local postal outlet to pick up a registered letter that required a signature; I wasn’t sure what it might be but when I saw that it was from the Canada Border Services Agency I remembered that the NEXUS program was issuing new cards.

Here is a picture of my old card (at the top) and the new one (below):



I find it interesting that they made the card itself look fancier while taking a perfectly ugly ID photo (taken with a handheld webcam by a DHS employee) and managing to make it look even worse - I guess Paul Simon was correct when he sang that “…everything looks worse in black and white.”

On the new card you can barely make out the security hologram that makes the picture even harder to see; within the lovely curlicues it has a plane, boat and car to show, I suppose, that it’s good for all modes of cross-border travel. While I can’t be sure, I’m guessing that the gold globe in the upper-right corner of the card is where the RFID chip is located – after all, we want to know where to aim the hammer when we smash the chip*, don’t we?

Included with my new NEXUS card was its own personal Trusted Traveler Card Condom:



This is to keep bad guys from reading information off the chip, even though the only thing stored on the card is an identifying code that is used to bring up the data from a central database on the computers used by the DHS/CBP folks and trust us, it’s really secure and nobody can get your data but be sure to keep the card in the sleeve when it’s not in use okay? Thank you, citizen, and here are your papers.

There was also a letter stating that the card must be activated within 30 days or “YOUR TRUSTED TRAVELLER BENEFITS MAY BE INTERRUPTED,” which sounds rather ominous. Fortunately, activation is easy (yay!); all you have to do is log onto the GOES website (boo!) and activate your card there except on the GOES home page there’s a message that card activation is experiencing difficulties and they expect it to be available by 1/5/09 (sigh).

Even if they hadn’t told me to keep my old NEXUS card until the new one is activated, I’d be doing so – after all, every now and again there’s a chance that something the government does gets messed up.






*I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS.

Popularity: 81% [?]