By Scott Boland-Krouse and Lawrence Burka
This article first appeared in Forbes on June 5, 2020.
In Aruba, the tourism industry is preparing to pilot a biometrically verified digital identity that allows visitors to move from airport, to rental car pickup, to hotel check-in without ever showing a passport.
Nor do travelers have to produce a driver’s license, credit card, or reservation confirmation during their stay. Instead, the official verification of who they are, the reservations they’ve made, and payment methods are on their mobile phone — a digital ID that can be unlocked at any point during their trip using facial recognition.
The point of the pilot and other travel industry projects involving digital identities, such as e-passports, is to make traveling a seamless journey — from booking a trip to when a traveler eventually returns home. Ideally, the system would be used worldwide — ultimately making travel more secure for governmental authorities always wary of fraudulent documents and less stressful for passengers.
Digital identities could help prevent pandemics if they included complete travel histories, necessary health data, and immunization records
But what if digital identities could do more than make travel easier and safer? What if — in a coronavirus-driven world — digital identities also could help prevent pandemics? That would be possible if they included complete travel histories, necessary health data, and immunization records.
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