The Canadian and Dutch governments are working with Accenture and the World Economic Forum on a pilot project that will one day replace your passport with a digital wallet.
At some point it means you might be able to leave your passport at home. The Known Traveler initiative is the brainchild of the World Economic Forum, a non-profit agency that seeks to promote closer global economic co-operation. WEF and Accenture, a Fortune 500 business services consultant, are working with the two governments to test the technology and systems needed to make it work.
The initiative uses blockchain technology to create a record of personal information and the approvals by government agencies. Blockchain is so-called because it allows transactions to be shared among users. Once entered they cannot be changed which makes them secure.
The idea behind the pilot is similar to a Nexus card, which Canadians can use to make travelling to and from the U.S. easier and faster. Nexus holders go through a vetting process by both governments and once approved can bypass customs lines, airport security and also have special lanes at border crossings.
The WEF-Accenture initiative is going one step further. It is looking at ways to store passport information in a way that would be available on a traveler’s phone or tablet. They are using software created by a Portuguese company called Vision Box. Vision Box is a multinational headquartered in Lisbon involved in security of government services including travel and border control. It uses blockchain technology and biometrics – such as finger and retina scans – to store and protect the information.
The Canada-Netherlands pilot program allows passengers to fly between Toronto and Amsterdam with a face scan as enough to identify them when boarding and clearing immigration on arrival. They do not need to show their travel documents or go through any further checks.
Eventually, travelers will enroll in a process that is much like Nexus which also includes a retina scan during the application process. Once their identity is approved by both governments, they become a “Known Traveler” and are issued an electronic Passenger Data Envelope.
The initiative includes collaboration with Air Canada, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
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