Perhaps you’ve heard about the company De La Rue and their preposterous idea to put our passports on our phones. If you haven’t these massive producers of passports are looking into the technology to put passports on our phones, working in a similar way as a mobile boarding pass. Although the app hasn’t been perfected yet, people are already questioning the ramifications of such a technology. There already exists a few apps that allow you to use your phone as a passport in certain areas, but is it a good idea? Will this be the trend of the future?
It’s already been a couple of years since the first mobile passport app came out and the buzz that once surrounded it has died down somewhat. Initially, most people were excited by the prospect of ditching the pocket stuffing and using their phone to get through airports, but it seems that there are a few things standing in the way of this app in its attempts to get off the ground. One of the biggest issues is airport compliance. With the original mobile passport app you just have to type in your passport details, answer a few customs questions once you’ve landed at your destination and then have a code on your phone scanned to give you the all clear. At the moment, these scanners and lanes that are specifically for mobile passports are available in only a few airports in the U.S. and because of this not many people are downloading the app. But, the mobile service is available in only a few airports because airports don’t have enough people using them. The app and the airports are in a bit of a stalemate at the moment and so not much development has been done to make the mobile passport a common technology. So, it’s difficult to say what will happen to the idea at this point. Perhaps, instead of passports, we’ll see apps that can store our European insurance card or travel insurance information.
However, if, hypothetically speaking, the mobile passport was available at all airports and a lot of people used it, would it be a sensible alternative to a printed passport? On the one hand, people would probably be grateful to have a backup passport to use if they lose their printed one and in regards to convenience an app is a lot easier to use and keep track of. But, an app also opens up the possibility of fraud. What’s to stop someone from using someone else’s phone or passport information? Depending on how this technology is developed in the future, we may or may not find that these types of apps are more dangerous than they are useful.
It’s hard to say for sure what will happen to this app or if we’ll see more like it I our future. Although the technology is impressive and would certainly make our lives a lot easier, it is still very young and it has a long way to go before it will manage to convince people to switch their passports to digital.