Rollout of biometrics-backed health passes for travel recovery continues

Idemia app launch, Smart Engines partnership, IATA Travel Pass adoption

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Biometric systems for managing COVID-19 immunity and vaccination status are being launched and trialed around the world, and common through-lines are beginning to emerge. A new app from Idemia leverages the ICAO’s infrastructure, the Seychelles has launched a travel app developed by partners Smart Engines and Travizory with face biometrics, and Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier has adopted the IATA Travel Pass.

The use of face biometrics for contactless Aadhaar authentication to verify the identity of people being vaccinated is only on a proof of concept, and is not mandatory, National Health Authority CEO R.S. Sharma clarified in recent remarks reported by Entrackr. If the system is rolled out across the country, it would continue to be on a voluntary basis, with identity authentication through fingerprints, iris biometrics or OTP available if a match is not successful.

Despite this official position, Entrackr notes the concerns of several advocates, including one who claims false non-matches will be used to deny individuals vaccination.

At the conclusion of the proof of concept, Sharma said the results will be submitted to the UIDAI for analysis.

Idemia launches biometric Health Travel Pass

Idemia has released a new app, which matches passengers’ face biometrics against their passport images, to help countries share travelers’ health certificates internationally.

Dubbed Health Travel Pass, the new solution operates by creating a profile that is linked to an individual’s identity and cannot be copied without appropriate authority.

The application complies with international health certificate standards and can certificate an individual’s PCR test results, immunity tests, and vaccination status.

“We are all very proud at IDEMIA to offer people a safe way to travel around again, with a solution which is secure, user-friendly, reliable, and totally GDPR compliant,” commented IDEMIA’s Executive Vice President Philippe Barreau.

The biometric app can also be integrated into the Digital Travel Credential scheme tested by some countries together with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Health Travel Pass users will have the possibility of receiving ICAO’s Visible Digital Seal, which is both internationally valid and technically secured via data encryption.

“Our Health Travel Pass is a significant step forward in the resumption of international travel,” Barreau added.

The app showcases the latest efforts of Idemia in the field of digital identity and biometrics in healthcare.

The company has also recently partnered with Cybernetica on a new biometric digital ID and with the French Ministry of the Interior on a biometric border control system.

Smart Engines and Travizory back Seychelles’ biometric app

Smart Engines’ artificial intelligence algorithms for digital passport scanning have been integrated with the biometric Seychelles Travel Authorization app from partner Travizory Border Security to provide automatic recognition, data acquisition and form-filling.

People traveling to the Seychelles must obtain authorization based on a negative PCR test prior to their flight. The new app supports this process, allowing travelers to scan their ID document with their Android or iOS device, or upload a photo, and take a selfie for biometric matching. Passport data from more than 200 jurisdictions around the world is supported, and Smart Engines says its innovations in low-bit neural networks provide fast and highly accurate data extraction.

Identity data is not transmitted to third parties, with identity authentication taking place on the device or website to maintain personal data security and regulatory compliance, according to the announcement.

The Seychelles signed an MoU with WISeKey to develop a digital identity platform for integration with government, health and tourism applications just weeks ago.

Travelers present the barcode generated by the app to allow airlines to check the authorization as they board their flight.

“The Travizory platform allows the Seychelles authorities to manage information about travelers, and also to provide airlines and passengers with a new positive experience in the tourism industry. Smart Engines passport scanning technologies optimize onboarding and form-filling processes, facilitate obligatory procedures and make the tourist’s holiday sure and safe,” says Renaud Irminger, CEO at Travizory.

Saudia adopts IATA Travel Pass

Passengers on Saudia (formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines) flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah holding biometric passports can use the IATA Travel Pass to securely and privately share their COVID-19 test results for travel authorization, according to an announcement from the airline.

The pilot is voluntary, with Saudia offering loyalty rewards for participants. The trial is scheduled to run from April 19 to May 17, 2021, for iPhone users.

The IATA Travel Pass secures the travelers personal health information with face biometrics, and was developed in collaboration with Evernym.

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