SITA working with blockchain firm on digital passports

14/06/16

Air transport industry IT and network firm SITA has revealed that its research team has been working with a blockchain start-up on how virtual or digital passports in the form of a single secure token on mobile and wearable devices could reduce complexity.

SITA Chief Technology Officer Jim Peters said that the company is exploring the potential of blockchain technology at the SITA Air Transport IT Summit in early June, as was reported by Future Travel Experience.

Single passenger tokens which use passengers’ biometric data to identify them at airport touch points could remove the need for travellers to present their e-passport and other travel documents at every step of the journey, writes the magazine.

A verifiable token could be stored on a mobile phone, which contains biometric and other personal data. Meanwhile, blockchain technology can be used because it allows “privacy by design” so that passenger data can be secure, encrypted, tamper-proof and unusable for any other purpose.

Jim Peters, SITA’s Chief Technology Officer, said, reported FTE: “Our vision is for seamless secure travel. To date, technology has provided SITA the opportunity to do that at many airports and at more than 30 of the world’s borders. But the underlying design of today’s computer systems means that there are multiple exchanges of data between various agencies and multiple verification steps, which reduces the ability to have a single global system.

“Now blockchain technology offers us the potential to provide a new way of using biometrics. It could enable biometrics to be used across borders, and at all airports, without the passenger’s details being stored by the various authorities.”

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