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Digital credentials for air travel from ForgeRock, SITA, Malaysian startup advance

Digital credentials for air travel from ForgeRock, SITA, Malaysian startup advance

The verification of an Electronic Personnel License (EPL) without network connectivity will soon be possible thanks to a blockchain-based decentralized digital identity solution developed by SITA.

A press release from the air transport industry technology provider states that the development comes as a boost to efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adopt a common standard for the use of EPL for international pilot license recognition.

Work started in 2019 on the digital ID solution, and a successful Proof of Concept was carried out in 2020. ICAO has been looking to develop a system for offline verification of pilot licenses as the tool is seen as a necessary feature to ensure functionality across civil aviation authorities globally.

The blockchain-based solution is ideal as it comes to eliminate the need for a centralized database whose information is vulnerable to privacy breaches, SITA says. It will also solve the problem of manual verification of pilot licenses which often involves checking files at the officers of civil aviation authorities.

The platform also provides users control over their personal data, allowing them to share a trusted credential for verification without revealing personal information, the statement notes.

For it to be used, the pilot needs to accept, store, and present a verifiable credential representing the license from a signed credential created by the civil aviation authority. Held in a wallet in the form of a mobile app, the credential can be easily integrated with the civil aviation authority’s own app. An inspector is then able to request information about a pilot’s license by exchanging the credential, with an option to do so offline.

Commenting on the development, Miguel Marin, Chief Operational Safety at ICAO said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization across the air transport industry, but the benefits of adopting a digital standard for electronic personnel licenses will last well into the long term: providing easier, quicker collaboration across civil aviation authorities globally, as well as a solution to fraud and reduced costs over time. We’re grateful for SITA’s willingness, working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), to develop a proof of concept to leverage cutting-edge innovation to the benefit of our entire sector.”

Sébastien Fabre, CEO, SITA For Aircraft remarked: “Our collaboration with ICAO on providing offline verification capabilities to EPLs is the latest example of SITA taking advantage of cutting-edge technology to bring greater efficiency to the air transport industry. With its ability to streamline complex multi-stakeholder processes in a secure way, blockchain technology is perfectly adapted to the industry’s needs. We have explored its benefits in the past with industry-first initiatives such as the MRO Blockchain Alliance, and our current partnership with ICAO allows us to apply our expertise on decentralized identity technology to support industry-wide change.”

SITA recently announced a 12-month free digital travel declaration period for governments globally as efforts to fully reopen air travel press on.

Malaysian developer awarded

The APEC Traveller App, which features facial recognition, QR code-scanning and optical character recognition (OCR), has been named the 2021 APEC Digital Prosperity Award winner.

The award was unveiled with an announcement by New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta at an APEC Ministerial Meeting.

The app was designed by Faisal Ariff, founder of startup BorderPass, reports Malay Mail, and his team of developers in Malaysia.

The team behind the app is working towards its adoption by airports for immigration checks. BorderPass ran a successful trial of automated biometric recognition at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2018, but has been held out of Home Ministry plans since. The company is seeking reinstatement with the Ministry, with the support of a National Technology and Innovation sandbox program, according to the report.

ForgeRock chosen by Australia

Australia has selected the ForgeRock Identity Platform to provide the identity and access management (IAM) capability for its Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) card application as the country attempts to safely accelerate the reopening of its international borders.

The digital credential is intended to replace physical incoming passenger cards and the existing web form used for COVID-19 Australian Travel Declaration.

“The world continues to become more connected and making it easier for people to manage their lives through digital solutions is now non-negotiable,” states David Hope, SVP for Asia Pacific and Japan at ForgeRock. “We are proud to be working with the Australian Government to reunite families and friends and bring international travel back to Australia as quickly and safely as possible by leveraging the power of our enterprise-grade identity platform.”

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