Passports to be embedded directly into smartphones

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March 31, 2016

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – The last-minute rush to find your passport before an overseas trip could soon be a thing of the past, after the printer of British banknotes announced plans to embed passports directly onto smartphones.

March 31, 2016

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – The last-minute rush to find your passport before an overseas trip could soon be a thing of the past, after the printer of British banknotes announced plans to embed passports directly onto smartphones.

Speaking to The Times, Martin Sutherland, the chief executive of De La Rue, said the company has started work on a project "to provide secure phone-based information that would work at immigration control".

De La Rue is the world's largest producer of passports. It also designs and prints all the Bank of England's notes and is a specialist in counterfeit-prevention technology.

British passports currently have hundreds of security features, including invisible ink and a verse from A Midsummer Night's Dream, embedded in a portrait of William Shakespeare. They even include some deliberate errors intended to foil forgers and make each document impossible to replicate.

The key to the new system will be adapting this anti-counterfeiting technology into a "digital formats for governments to then approve", says The Times.

De La Rue also invented the first cash machine, but does not fear the increasingly cashless society. "I am reasonably optimistic that cash will survive," Sutherland told The Times. However, it does want to grow the identity document side of its business under pressure from the competitive banknote-printing market.

While airline tickets have long been delivered direct to phones, airports in Miami and Atlanta have now begun testing mobile-based clearance systems. But Sutherland said paperless passports were still in the early stages of development and "unlikely to arrive in the short term".


Courtesy: The Week