Looking at the future of travel documents


 

The International Civil Aviation Organization is currently working on the next evolution of the ePassport standard, which was initially implemented in 2005.


Adding data to the electronic passport

This future generation of travel documents will introduce the ability to add data to the electronic component of the passport post issue, in order to load and read information such as biometric data or electronic visas and entry/exit stamps during its lifetime. This storage area, also known as Logical Data Structure version 2.0 (LDS2) is to be standardized in the coming months.​

LDS2 will further enhance the benefits of modern, integrated visa management and border management systems. It is a huge opportunity to expedite inspection while also enhancing security by enabling immigration officers to quickly and efficiently check passengers’ visa and travel history by retrieving data from the chip.

Because ePassports are contactless documents and in the hands of close to 1,000 million travelers​ as of mid 2017, LDS2 can do much more than transform visa and border control ecosystems. For example, airlines could use biometrics to securely grant access to their VIP lounges or use a passenger’s travel history for more targeted communications. Duty free operators could also leverage the passport data for promotional activities. These use cases are of course subject to privacy regulations.

Implementing additional biometrics 

Because it offers the broadest interoperability, the holder’s face is the only mandatory biometric information required in the ePassport. 

It is the primary biometric element stored in all electronic passports issued and allows for the use of facial recognition algorithms at border control. 

Fingerprints are secondary biometric elements, which are mostly used in the European Union (all member states). Access to fingerprints is restricted, as this is considered sensitive information; availability to other countries can be chosen by the issuing country. 

For maximum biometric data privacy​ and security, it is based on the exchange of certificates in a PKI scheme. ​

As the industry moves forward, it is clear that all stakeholders have to start considering how to manage and leverage the impending evolution of travel documents and associated systems.

The fourth generation of ePassport, looking at the future of travel

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