Smarter identity control for a more mobile future
The rapid growth in air travel has made the task of controlling borders increasingly cumbersome. EU-funded research is developing pioneering new technology which will lighten the burden on weary travellers while simultaneously tightening security and facilitating ID control at the borders.
© Dasha Petrenko - fotolia.com
The European air transport industry is witnessing considerable growth which, in turn, is increasing pressure on border-control procedures to ensure travellers are safe and secure. Passengers frequently face long queues and the inconvenience of juggling bags, passports and tickets as they pass through airport controls.
One important concern for all the various stakeholders involved airlines, airports, governments and industry suppliers is to improve the experience for passengers while, at the same time, continuing to provide a high level of security for citizens and protecting their privacy.
The EU-funded SMART-TRUST project is developing a solution that aims to address all of these challenges. The applied technology proposed by Vision-Box, the Portuguese company carrying out this project, allows travellers to store multiple ID documents (such as passport, citizen ID card, membership cards) in a smartphone which can then be used to permit hands-free authentication at authorised touch points.
In this way, the mobile phone becomes the single means of identification for travellers throughout their entire journey.
The main focus of our work is to improve the passengers experience, explains Pedro Torres, project coordinator. This must not, however, be at the expense of security or the protection of privacy. With SMART-TRUST, we are confident that the solution being proposed not only enhances passenger comfort, but also actually increases security, reduces costs for stakeholders and extends the protection of privacy for citizens.
Towards a seamless experience
Vision-Box is focusing its research and development on applied technology aimed at creating a more seamless flow of passengers through border control. The companys award-winning seamless flow solution, using biometrics as a single token for identification, is already being implemented at a number of European airports.
The Mobile ID being developed by SMART-TRUST takes this one step further by introducing a highly secure biometric token, which can be stored on smartphones, to safeguard the users personal data by keeping it private and confidential. The token extends along the terms of general data protection, ensuring full respect of the principles of privacy by design. Only authorised stakeholders are able to access the information they effectively need, with permissions explicitly granted by the user. Together, these protocols enhance user privacy and essentially eliminate identity theft.
If your mobile phone is lost or stolen, you can fall back on the traditional paper passport, says Torres. However, no one else can access or use your personal data which is specifically linked to your biometric profile. The user also has full control at all times as to whether or not to allow access to the information.
Two very important pilots will be conducted in 2019 at Lisbon, Portugal and Schiphol (Amsterdam) airports. By the end of the project, SMART-TRUST aims to have brought an innovative product, Mobile ID, to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction. It will then be ready to be commercialised and deployed in major international airports on a global scale, making air travel a more secure and enjoyable experience for passengers worldwide.