Friday 3 February 2023

E-passports, a leap into the future of travel

64% of international airports plan to implement identity validation technologies by 2023, according to Statista.

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QCOSTARICA – Governments around the world are already implementing technologies in a new generation of identity documents such as passports. The promise to reduce fraud, ease authentication controls, and improve security underlies these initiatives.

Recently, the Mexican government has joined this application of biometrics and electronic confirmation. Starting this month, new passports will be issued in the country: this implementation will be reflected through printed documentation, which will now include an electronic chip to access the holder’s information. This is to reliably safeguard identity data.

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This is not a coincidence or a fad, it is a reality that is here to stay and that will be implemented in all countries in the short-medium term.

According to Statista data, 64% of international airports plan to implement boarding gates, by 2023, using different technologies that allow digital validation of identity.

These new generation passports, or e-passports, conform to international standards issued by institutions such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is run by the United Nations. Some of the guidelines it adheres to include the use of biometrics to enable facial recognition and therefore validate the traveler’s identity. Thus, these new documents will contain digitized images of the faces of their bearers, as well as fingerprints and iris data. These characteristics are unique to each person, so this process will also speed up immigration procedures.

Biometrics, which have already been fully incorporated in fields such as mobile devices, are now widely accepted among travelers according to IATA’s 2021 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), with great acceptance to implement these technologies and improve airport processes. It is worth asking, then, what challenges does this step towards the future of identity pose?

Taking into consideration that e-passports are most likely to be read by RFID readers or radio frequency identifiers that will be installed as part of security controls at airports, sporting events or concerts. Thus, the first challenge to face will be skimming, that is, the hidden or unauthorized reading of its content from clandestine readers.

Gabriel Bravo, Commercial Director in Mexico of VU comments in this regard: “The integrity of the data becomes vital for its security. Comprehensive protection is essential to the value of any authentication system. Therefore, the protocols and their subsequent updates that will support these new implementations are a crucial part of any infrastructure and its success.”

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This digital migration opens a new door to multiply its uses in areas that set trends and with great mass adoption of new technologies, such as electronic commerce.

“The proliferation of government actions and identification devices will surely give rise to risky and unwanted applications, so comprehensive protocols must be considered from the initial stages and constant updates,” adds Bravo.

In recent years, cyberattackers have become more professional, so – like current times – agility in processes and institutions is paramount.

From Revista Summa. Read the original article (in Spanish) here.

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