Digital tech to speed up border control

February 12th, 2018  |  Canadian Business

A new pilot programme could see the use of mobile devices to help speed up processing times at border control.

A joint venture between the federal government and the Netherlands, The Known Traveller Digital Identity will see travellers filling out a personal profile on the digital platform for use by border officials. 

The programme comes as a welcome development in the sector, after the World Economic Forum document, which outlines the program, revealed that international traveller arrivals are expected to leap from 1.2 billion in 2016 to 1.8 billion by 2030.

The upcoming project was publically announced at the World Economic Forum last month.

Much like the travel apps which help you book hotels, flights and find your way around a new destination, the programme will appear as an app on user mobile devices with options for you to customise. 

Each digital profile will require details including university education, bank statements and vaccinations, to determine the risk factor of each traveller. However, people will need to fill out their profiles well in advance, in order for the government to fully assess the reliability and safety of each passenger.

"The prevailing paradigm in border management is that we need to have risk assessment, and we need to identify those people who are very, very low risk so that you can focus your resources on the ones that you haven't identified as low risk," said the Bill Anderson, head of the Cross-Border Institute at the University of Windsor.

Digital tech company Accenture are heading up the programme, and promise to ensure that all traveller information will be safeguarded.

“No personal information is stored on the ledger itself, ensuring that personal information is not consolidated in one system, which would make it a high value target for subversion," the company said in a statement to CBC News.

CBC News also reported that the more often a traveller enters new countries, the more reliability will be built up on their profile.

However, Bill Anderson added that critics argue this will create a “two-tiered” system of travel. Those who are registered on the platform will see a speedier process, while travellers who are not part of the programme may be dismayed to find themselves in longer lines.

The Known Traveller Digital Identity programme is in the process of being rolled out globally by 2020.