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This Company Wants to Make Passports Obsolete

A passenger waits in line with her passpA passenger waits in line with her passp
A passenger waits in line with her passport.Photograph by Jeff Haynes—AFP via Getty Images

One company is reportedly developing a paperless passport.

De La Rue, a passport manufacturer and producer of British banknotes, is working on technology that would make carrying a physical passport obsolete. According to the Telegraph, it would instead allow travelers to essentially store their passports in their smartphones, similar to the way a boarding pass can now be saved on mobile technology. De La Rue chief executive Martin Sutherland told the Times that the company is already in the process of testing the paperless passport concept.

There are still a handful of obstacles De La Rue has to overcome in order to make this a reality, specifically those that challenge security including potential forgery or losing your phone.

Where passport technology currently stands, each document contains a chip that helps identify the traveler. As David Jevans of Proofpoint, a cybersecurity company, explained to the Telegraph, “Digital passports on your phone will require new hardware on the device in order to securely store the electronic passport so it cannot be copied from the phone. It will also have to be communicated wirelessly to passport readers, because doing it onscreen like an airline ticket QR code can be coped or spoofed.”

“Paperless passports are one of the many initiatives we are currently looking at,” a spokesperson for De La Rue told the Telegraph. “But at the moment it is a concept that is at the very early stages of development.”