One of the world’s largest passport printing companies is experimenting to see if passports, like boarding passes, concert tickets, and countless other documents, can be securely put on a smartphone. According to the Telegraph, the paperless passports would function much the same way, with travelers simply scanning their phone at customs.
Passports on a Phone
Obviously the main concern here is security. The potential for forgery is very real, though certainly that risk is present in paper passports as well. There is also the possibility that not all countries will accept (or be able to accept) mobile passports, meaning you’d need to bring your paper passport anyway.
Further, the Telegraph points out that “modern passports already have chips in them that compare the carrier’s face to the one stored in the passport, so one that sits inside a smartphone could embed this technology instead of merely representing the document on a screen.”
So true paperless passports would require a similar chip be installed on the person’s phone. Simply having a QR code or bar code, like a concert ticket, would make it too vulnerable to forgery. And, of course, it ups the risk of spoiling your trip if you lose or forget your phone.
Still, it’s easy to imagine companies like Apple or Samsung seeing value in adding passport technology to their phones. There’s already a huge push for customers to use their wallets for everyday purchases, so adding passports to smartphones seems like an obvious and perhaps inevitable move.
Readers, what do you think? Would you be comfortable having your passport on your phone? Would it just make you more nervous about losing your phone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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