Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs is considering the implementation of cloud-based passports. The idea would see citizens’ biographic and biometric data stored online, allowing travelers to eschew physical passports.
The idea is the product of the DFAT Ideas Challenge, an innovation contest spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and associates. In addition to the convenience such a program would afford travelers, it’s also envisioned as a security matter; the past couple of years have seen almost 40,000 annual reports of stolen or lost passports from Australian citizens.
DFAT is currently in negotiations with counterparts in New Zealand over trialling the idea, and its officials believe it could catch on globally. But there are some reasons for skepticism. Last year, Australia’s Immigration Department saw the personal data of almost 10,000 refugee claimants compromised in a hack attack, which has led to some discomfort among citizens about the online storage of such data. And, of course, implementation of a digital-only passport would require considerable cooperation from other countries.
On the other hand, various other countries are starting to embrace e-Passports, and it could be argued that transitioning to cloud-based documentation is the next logical step. In any case, such a system is only beginning to take shape as Australia and New Zealand continue their pioneering efforts.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
October 29, 2015 – by Alex Perala