Netherlands, Canada to launch trial of epassports for transatlantic flights

Person holding Canadian passport

The Netherlands and Canada are launching a trial of paperless travel between the countries.

Passengers enrolled in the pilot project will be able to travel between Canada and the Netherlands using their mobile phone instead of a passport.

Passenger identity information data, including biometrics, that is usually stored on a chip on a passenger’s passport will be securely stored and encrypted on their mobile device.

Their biometrics can be tracked at multiple points throughout the journey, including security checkpoints, boarding gates and border control. It will apply at both ends – departures and arrivals.

The Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) programme will allow people to fly document-free between international destinations. It is to be tested internally throughout 2019, with the first end-to-end paperless journey expected to take place in early 2020. KTDI aims to speed up the flow of passengers through airports and reduce the risk of cross-border identity fraud.

Passengers arriving at participating airports will already have their identity data encrypted and stored on their mobile phone, instead of on a passport microchip. Relevant information is sent to airlines, border authorities and others before passengers reach the airport.

At the moment, passengers will be asked to participate and give consent for their biometrics to be used in this way. How long will it be before it is compulsory?

One huge area of concern is that passengers do not know who is handling, seeing and storing their biometrics. Governments, airlines, airport and who else?

Air Canada, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport are taking part in the pilot. Technology partners are Accenture and Vision-Box. The initiative is led by the World Economic Forum.

N.B. Image credit:Kylie Anderson on Unsplash

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