Is Canada Planning to offer Mobile Passports?

Canada has been one of the choicest destinations for people across the globe. But this also is a fact, Canadians equally enjoy spending time and traveling across the world frequently. For this every five to 10 years, being a Canadian, you have to go through the long and time-consuming process of collecting and mailing it into the Canada passport office. You do this exercise just to renew the little blue booklet that allows you to travel abroad. At the airport, you take it out for check-in, during security screenings and many other places before finally getting off the plane from the gangway.

What about doing it all on your phone? Amazing!

This has been suggested by the officials of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada that they are contemplating whether the Canadians would be able to renew their passport using a mobile application. They are also eager to know the Canadians’ attitudes towards this concept of using virtual or mobile passports.

Convenience is Motivation, Security is Concern

Though most of the participants in this survey were willing to accept this approach, they are equally concerned about the safeguarding and ensuring the security and privacy of information. The negative reactions to the virtual passport were highest among millennials. Those over 58 years of age were not that likely to use a mobile passport option.

But anyways, Canada is planning to use what’s known as an ePassport. Back in 2013, the passports issued since then have an electronic chip in the back cover containing the personal information printed on the second page. This format was used by many other countries like the UK, the US, and France.

Convenience is the biggest motivation for this initiative and to move away from the current passport.

The group participants were more comfortable with the perception of passport renewal app and mobile passport than using a virtual passport.

The latter concept is facilitating the existing ePassport at check-in then having facial recognition done to track and identify them so no more the ePassport needs to be taken out for showing it to the gate agents.

Though participants were comfortable using a passport renewal app or a passport saved on their phone, they were little doubtful about the user-friendliness of it and whether it worth the security concerns.

Data Protection is a Challenge for Authorities

It is a challenge for the cyber-crime branch to protect the data used to renew or facilitate the use of mobile passports, as having all vital information in a single place may become the easy target for hackers.

Though mobile passport apps are not that popular but are becoming more common, especially in the United States.

To date, the South of the border, Border Protection, and U.S. Customs have officially started using an app called Mobile Passport in about 25 American airports so far.

To protect the personal data it is encrypted on the app and stored by Customs and Border Protection. On returning in the U.S. from travel abroad, the residents reach out to a designated line and display the barcode linked with their Mobile Passport account to a border agent, which is scanned before allowing them through.

This app is being used by only the American citizens with American passports, Canadian citizens with both a Canadian passport and an American B1 or B2 visa, which was created with the joint efforts of Customs and Border Protection by the Airports Council International-North America.

This is not yet clear and officially established whether Immigration, Refugees,  and Citizenship Canada is planning to develop its own app for mobile passports or planning to the existing one.

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