Travel technology is advancing like never before, and quicker than we can even keep track of. Every day, we find ourselves engulfed in newer high-tech programs that make our lives easier—from being able to check in early, and booking flights and hotels in just a few clicks, to tracking our luggage via an app.
But that is just the brink of it. A company called De La Rue, which produces most of the passports in the world, started testing out a new type of technology last year—a digital passport. So how would that work? And, is it safe?
Your passport would be stored on your smartphone, and can be pulled up and scanned like you would an e-ticket when you go through border control.
Some of you may already be using a similar technology that’s been authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Control called Mobile Pass. This app works only for U.S. Citizens entering into the U.S. from abroad. The only difference between Mobile Pass and the Digital Passport is that the Mobile Pass still requires you to carry a paper version of your passport, whereas the latter will allow you to travel paper-free, as well as be available for other countries and their citizens (not just in and for the U.S.).
One of the biggest concern is, of course, security. However, David Jevans, the Vice President of Proofpoint (a cybersecurity company), said “Digital passports on your phone will require new hardware on the device in order to securely store it so it cannot be copied from the phone”. As such, the passport stored on your smartphone will have to send information to passport readers wirelessly, without having the passport appear on the screen (as you would see with current tickets’ QR codes). If it’s not set up wirelessly, it opens the door to theft and forgery.
So will we truly see a digital passport come to life? It looks like that soon may be a possibility, especially with the recent emergence of the Mobile Pass. Are you ready?