Your Next Passport Might Live on Your Smartphone

British company De La Rue to develop paperless travel docs

By The Editors
April 1, 2016 9:00 am

Late nights. Frantic mornings. That time you almost got a cavity search in Dubrovnik.

You and your passport have been through a lot together.

But, as with almost anything, there’s a time to let go, move on and embrace the future.

And the future is a paper(s)less one.

De La Rue, a commercial printing company that manufactures government documents and banknotes, is working on technology that would enable your phone to store your passport similar to the way it already stores boarding passes.

In order to make the idea plausible, smartphones would have to be outfitted with the same type of biometric identifier chips that are in modern passports in order to ensure the device has passenger information that is unique and unreplicable.

“It will also have to be communicated wirelessly to passport readers, because doing it onscreen like an airline ticket QR code can be copied or spoofed,” says David Jevans of security company Proofpoint.

The technology is still in development and theft and forgery are concerns, but if things continue to progress, the paperless passports could be ready for global release within a few years.

Be sure to let your paper passport down easy. 

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