International Travel Without A Passport – It’s Starting

by SharonKurheg

Technology has become huge in travel. You’ve got the ability to make reservations on your phone, have your boarding pass on your phone, programs such as CLEAR allow you to bypass the TSA lines and Global Entry lets you skip the regular line when returning to the U.S.

And now comes the next step – a pilot program will allow the citizens of two countries to enjoy international travel without having their passports.

The governments of Canada and the Netherlands recently announced plans to launch a trial program for paperless travel between the two countries. Air Canada and KLM Royal Dutch will be the first two airlines to participate in the pilot program, with flights between Amsterdam and airports in both Toronto and Montreal.

The program is possible because of, of course, technology. In this case, a new initiative called Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI), which is the first platform to use a traveler-managed digital identity for international paperless travel. The way they do it is the identity data that’s usually stored on a passport’s chip is encrypted and securely stored in a digital wallet on the traveler’s cell phone.

Of course, the first thought with this technology would be privacy and security. But they seem to have it all figured out.

Participants in the program will each have his/her own private key that will prove who they are, and therefore only they will be able to access and share the information in their KTDI. Meanwhile, only trusted authorities (i.e., border authorities, airlines, etc.) will be able to accept the information the traveler is sharing. The information shared with the trusted authorities is protected with blockchains that, among other things, doesn’t contain any personally identifiable information. This, in turn, gives travelers control over when, how and to whom their personal data is shared, as well as privacy and security of their personal information.

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 2.34.22 PM

Mobile interface authority perspective. PC: World Economic Forum

The pilot program will only be available to Canadian or Dutch nationals, age 18+, on a by-invitation-only basis. Potential participants can accept the invitation or not, and if they accept, they can withdraw their consent whenever they wish; it’s 100% voluntary – and free.

The trial period is expected to be testing internally throughout 2019, followed by trials in a contained live environment, and then completing the first “real” flights – paperless journeys between Canada and the Netherlands – in early 2020. The goal is to include 10,000 end-to-end passenger trips.

And after that, who knows….? 😉

*** Feature photo via World Economic Forum

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


James August 12, 2019 - 10:28 pm

It is just starting? For hundreds of years this was the case. Then you needed a passport from the US to go to Canada or Mexico (doubt you need one going there, just coming back).

Ryan K August 13, 2019 - 11:34 am

Interesting. I wonder if this will stick…


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