Some travelers flying into Aruba next week will be
invited to be part of a pilot program to test a digital travel credential housed
in a mobile app instead of showing a passport or other documents upon arrival.
The program, managed by SITA and Indicio in
partnership with Aruba Tourism Authority, is an extension of work the
organizations began at the start of the pandemic to create a blockchain-based
app to verify COVID credentials.
Beginning Wednesday, travelers scheduled to fly the
week of March 27 from the United States, Canada or the Netherlands into Aruba
may be invited to download the “Aruba Happy One Pass” app to create a digital
travel credential (DTC) that is based on their passport data.
The DTC follows the International Civil Aviation
Organization’s (ICAO) standards and uses blockchain technology that ensures
authenticity and integrity. Travelers control when to share pieces of their data as necessary with,
for example, the government at the port of entry or an airline or hotel upon check-in – meaning none of those entities would need to keep a database with
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“In the lab we’ve been chasing the single token
travel vision for a long time, where I can travel end-to-end without pulling anything
out of my pocket,” says Gus Pina, director of SITA Lab.
“It’s a trust problem. How do we verify digitally
that a person can be trusted to cross the border … so you digitally cross a
border before you even travel, and we can get the trusted people out of the queues.
In the long run can we shape passenger flow based on their risk profile? That’s
Initially, passengers will tap their phone at an
e-gate upon arrival, which will automatically “read” their digital credential, extract their biometric data and compare it to their face to verify
approval to cross the border. The longer term vision, says Pina, would enable
travelers to simply walk out of an airport, eliminating the e-gate, and the
credential would live in an Apple or Google wallet, without the need for a
“We want to make the electronic travel authorization
like a PayPal transaction. It’s one button … and that exchange happens
seamlessly, in a privacy-preserving way,” Pina says.
“We are trying to hide all the personal data behind
a stamp from the government, and that’s all the hospitality and airline staff need
to look at to say you’ve been authorized.”
And says Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio, “A
government-issued passport represents the highest form of identity assurance.
What we’ve done is built a way to translate the trustworthiness of a passport
into an equally trustworthy ICAO DTC type 1 digital credential – all without
needing to store any personal data about the passenger outside the credential.”
At Phocuswright Europe last summer in Amsterdam, Nick Price - chair of the Hospitality and Travel Special Interest Group within the Decentralized Identity Foundation - discussed how decentralized digital identity technology will change the way suppliers and travelers interact and eliminate impediments that exist today. Watch the full interview below.
Executive Interview: Control Yourself - Phocuswright Europe 2022