During ICAO’s 7th symposium, held in Montreal Sept. 12-15, Entrust’s Dave Mahdi and Craig Delmage spoke about ePassports and border control during feature presentations. One common theme: border agents using mobile devices as ePassport readers.
Everyone in technology is familiar with Moore’s Law, which in its most recent phrasing has the computing power of a chip doubling every 18 months and the price of the chip moving inversely. The decreasing price point and increasing capabilities have helped increase the consumerization of mobile devices, which has lead to a proliferation of mobile devices in all industries, verticals and environments.
While not deployed yet, NFC-enabled devices are a possible option for ePassport readers. As more and more mobile devices come equipped with NFC, using a smartphone or tablet as a reader will become a viable option. NFC requires the reader and the chip to be in close proximity, further adding an additional layer of security. The mobile device will generate the necessary power for the exchange of the credentials.
Using a smartphone or tablet instead of a permanent machine gives budget-conscious local, state or federal agencies and organizations the ability to read smart documents at a low-cost, highly-mobile option. Coupled with proven ePassport technology, like Entrust’s own PKI digital signatures, border security agents can be confident that the person in front of them is who the passport says they are. Each ePassport is digitally signed and any tampering with the ePassport will break the digital signature. This “broken signature” immediately alerts a border agent that the passport they are holding has been tampered with.
Not only could this make international borders more secure and save nations and states money, but hopefully will cut down on long customs lines. As most know, standing in those lines seems like an eternity. And maybe it’s a personal thing, but long lines make me cranky. Who wants that before vacation or a business meeting?
As advanced mobile devices continue to proliferate, will the borders of the future take advantage of new smart technologies to become more secure?