Could your smartphone become your passport?

Passports are top of the list of things to pack when you're going on holiday – but despite that many of us still experience that heart-stopping moment at the airport when we think we may have left it behind. 

However, few of us are ever without our smartphones in 2016 – and the technology could soon be used to make worrying about forgetting your passport a thing of the past. 

British passport maker De La Rue has revealed it has plans to move travellers passports onto their mobile phones. 

Chief executive officer of the organisation Martin Sutherland told The Times that his firm has been working on the relevant technology to securely store all the relevant information on smartphones, rendering the traditional passport book obsolete. 

The paperless documentation, which was also reported in the Daily Telegraph, would allow people to pass through immigration control checkpoints without the need for anything other than their mobile. 

If this was to become a reality, then the digital passports could work in a similar fashion to existing mobile boarding passes. 

A spokesman from De La Rue said that technology is at the forefront of the company's operations. “As you would expect, we are always looking at new innovations and technology solutions for our customers around the world.

“Paperless passports are one of many initiatives that we are currently looking at, but at the moment it is a concept that is at the very early stages of development.” 

Speaking on behalf of security company Proofpoint, David Jevans suggested that the heightened level of data protection required by such a development could mean the technology would not be possible on current devices. 

Modern passports incorporate chips that compare the traveller's face with the image that is stored on the passport. Paperless passports could transfer this chip into a smartphone – although it is not included in current handsets.

“Digital passports on your phone will require new hardware on the device in order to securely store the electronic passport so it cannot be copied from the phone,” Mr Jevans commented. 

“It will also have to be communicated wirelessly to passport readers, because doing it on screen like an airline ticket QR code can be copied or spoofed.”

While it remains unclear precisely how De La Rue plans on negating the risk of forgery, there are a range of modern technologies that could be adequate, including fingerprint readers and biometric sensors.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is Australia's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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