De La Rue, the biggest passport producer, is working on a technology that would enable storing passports in mobile phones, while lessening the burden of travellers of carrying the physical travel document. De La Rue, the printer of the British banknote, has revealed its plans to directly embed passports in mobiles.
Martin Sutherland, the chief executive officer of the company, told The Times that it has already started working on the project.
While paperless passports could act in a similar way as mobile boarding cards, there is always a chance of forgery and possibility of losing the phone, which means challenges in terms of security.
"Technology is at the forefront of De La Rue's business, and as you would expect we are always looking at new innovations and technology solutions for our customers around the world. Paperless passports are one of many initiatives that we are currently looking at, but at the moment it is a concept that is at the very early stages of development," a company spokesman told the Telegraph.
Digital passports need to have dedicated hardware to store the documents. David Jevans, from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, said: "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 copied or spoofed."
De La Rue is not the first company to work on digital passport technology. In 2015, Australia was confirmed to be developing technology to introduce cloud passports whereby the personal information of travellers would be stored in the cloud. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop had said the IDs and biometric data of travellers would be stored in cloud so that the information could be checked digitally.
Biometrics company MODI, which supplies e-passport scanners, is also planning to come up with paperless passports.