Canada and the Netherlands are about to test drive biometrics and blockchain for air travel as part of a larger initiative called Known Traveller. The announcement comes amid the World Economic Forum, and upon the launch of the Known Traveller Digital Identity prototype.
The product of a wide-ranging collaboration between governments, international hotel chains and airlines, INTERPOL, and others – and led by Accenture – the idea is to store citizens’ identity information in a cryptographically secured distributed ledger system. Among that identity information is travelers’ biometric data, which can be used to confirm their identities as needed throughout the travel process, from border screening at the airport to check-in at a hotel.
In a statement announcing the trial program, Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau explained, “Leveraging new technological advancements can support risk-based approaches to public safety and security, making air travel more efficient while improving the travel experience”.
It’s an ambitious aim, but some of these ideas are already being put into practice, as can be seen in efforts to establish biometric passenger screening programs at airports in the US and elsewhere. Nevertheless, the nuts and bolts of the Canada-Netherlands trial are still unclear, with no clear start date or timeline having yet been announced.
January 25, 2018 – by Alex Perala