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Accenture Blockchain Solution Makes Passports Obsolete

Known Traveler Digital Identity puts passport data securely into a digital wallet on your phone.

The next time you travel abroad, you might be able to leave your passport at home.

That’s the vision behind the Known Traveler Digital Identity, a platform that puts identity data normally stored on a passport into a digital wallet on a traveler’s mobile device. Created by The World Economic Forum in conjunction with Accenture and Vision-Box, the technology uses blockchain and biometrics, which backers say gives travelers complete control over their data.

“The way we manage our data today we very often don’t know where our data goes, who we shared it with and where it has gone,” said Christine Leong, managing director of Global Blockchain Identity at Accenture. “In the new way of blockchain-based decentralized identity, the idea is that we have control as individuals: where we get the data from (such as the government), who we share it with, how long we share it and which data attributes (such as my name, date of birth…)”

[Related: A Sweet Deal: 5 Things You Need To Know About Accenture’s New CEO]

Travelers are now testing out the technology under a pilot program in Canada and the Netherlands. And, while the platform is still in its early days, Leong expects many use cases to come beyond travel.

“In the new gig economy, where I recently moved into a house, I should trust that the person coming in to do my electrics or the person picking me up in an Uber….do they have trusted data? Are they really who they say they are? It (Known Traveler Digital Identity) would make my life safer, it builds their reputation and they would be able to get jobs more easily in the future.”

The technology comes as the air travel system remains under pressure from a rising number of passengers. Research finds that by 2030, international air arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 billion passengers, up 50 percent from 2016.

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