Blockchain Technology and Passports
Aside from preventing security threats, the UK Border Force has other priorities too, which include facilitating safe movement of individuals and trade and providing efficient services for customers. All of these is easily achievable by Blockchain Technology.
Passports play a role in facilitating safe movements. However, in 2016, the loss of nearly 20,000 passports were reported. Such incidents lead to an increase in crimes like identity theft. Also, manual passport checks are inefficient, and it can cause delays in Airport. This challenge will continue to grow further with the increasing number of travelers. To combat the problems, government needs to find an effective solution that Blockchain technology can provide.
Blockchain could be the future of the passport by providing an immutable digital ledger which can be used to verify the identity of a person. Blockchain is a temper-proof distributed ledger technology that stores data across a distributed network making it easier to trace the authenticity of a transaction, an item or even a person. Because of the transparency and temper-proof nature, any changes made to the information stored in blocks must be verified by all members of the network.
Unlike paper passports, information could be encrypted and stored on an individual’s smartphone, which they can access through fingerprint scanning. Same can be verified during international travels. This digital passport can reduce the risks of identity fraud resulting from loss of personal information contained in passports. Blockchain-enabled digital passports could provide people better control over their personal information.
As data remains stored on the encrypted Blockchain, there’s no need for a passenger’s data to be stored by various border agencies like airports, airlines and governments. Rather, these agencies can verify a traveler’s data using biometric information. A digital passport, can thus, improve the airport travelers’ travelling experience.
Dubai Government has already expressed interest towards using Blockchain to create a ‘gate-less’ border that cuts waiting time and verified passenger information prior to their arrival at the airport. Once in practice, Blockchain technology could reduce long queues my eliminating the need for multiple checks by border staff. On arrival, passengers would walk through a specialized area for biometric analysis and checking it against the digital passport supplied through the Blockchain.
Estonia has already adopted the blockchain technology across a vast range of public services – demonstrating broader possibilities of blockchain implementation. The blockchain-enabled Estonia ID is a digital identity card, used by Estonians citizens to access public, financial and medical services. Single digital Estonia ID serves as a replacement to many paper based cards.
As per Reform’s digital borders report, technological innovation in Blockchain has the ability to improve the efficiency and security of the UK’s borders. If in practice, Blockchain could put an end to the paper-based passport. Reform now concentrates on reports of using blockchain within public services for identity management.
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