By Samantha Rogers
Australia is set to trial passport-less travel and move to cloud passports.
The trial will see travellers from Australia and New Zealand use cloud services to replace physical passports to prevent loss and identity theft.
A frequent traveller, Jessica Hill from Wanneroo, welcomed the trial but was wary of the potential risks.
“The amount of times I’ve forgotten my passport and has to re-schedule, it’s the worst situation to be in.
“In terms of identity theft, I don’t know if it’ll make it better or worse, but it’s certainly worth it to try it out,” Ms Hill said.
The proposal was presented by InnovationXchange, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s brainchild, an organisation that aims to modernise the distribution of the aid budget.
Murdoch University Professor Nathan Tozer notes the convenience this technology could provide, but is skeptical of its use on a global scale.
“…this is a scenario where being world-leading could be problematic for Australian travellers when other countries don’t have the same systems in place.
“…it has the potential, at least initially, to be bad for travellers stuck in countries where they are asked by authorities in areas outside of the airport to produce their passport on demand,” Professor Tozer said.
However, he believes the most significant potential negative effect is the risk to privacy and national security.
“Hackers are very savvy and love getting their hands on sensitive personal information, so it is of vital importance that thorough security measures are taken.
“We tend to rush to implement these ideas born in the name of convenience and cost-saving but tend to understate or even dismiss very significant privacy and security implications,” Professor Tozer said.
Foreign Minister Bishop assured Australians the concept would not be implemented unless security standards were met.