Passports to be Digitalised and Embedded in Smartphones

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

Passport manufacturer De La Rue has revealed that it’s hoping to create digital passports that can be stored on smartphones. The company envisions a future in which travellers won’t need to carry any paper documents through airports with them, and that sounds pretty good to us.

"Technology is at the forefront of De La Rue's business, and as you would expect we are always looking at new innovations and technology solutions for our customers around the world,” said a company spokesman. “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.”

As you’d imagine, issues with security are proving the toughest barriers to overcome. De La Rue needs to ensure that people who lose their phones don’t simultaneously lose their passports, and that details can’t simply be copied from device to device. That could mean that current smartphones aren't up to the task.

"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," said Proofpoint's David Jevans, a security man. "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."

You’d also have to ensure that your phone battery’s up to scratch. Imagine touching down in a new country and having your phone conk out before you've passed through security. Something tells me the mean people behind those desks wouldn't exactly jump to offer you a charger. [Telegraph, Times]