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Digi Yatra seeks to assure Indian air travelers their biometric data is safe

Government insists next-generation passports just months away
Digi Yatra seeks to assure Indian air travelers their biometric data is safe
 

The biometric and biographic data collected from Indian air passengers by the Digi Yatra App is stored locally, and not at risk of a mass data breach, the Digi Yatra Foundation has declared.

A public statement quoted by the Times of India says that “there is no risk of data loss, data theft or breach of data of a passenger’s ‘personal identifiable information’ (PII) or personal details as they are not stored in any central server or location.

The biometric app includes a secure digital wallet feature, and the Foundation says the Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem (DYCE) is based on self-sovereign digital identity principles.

The statement refers to the use of Verifiable Credentials for digital identity, health and travel data. VCs are used to share data with the relevant parties between 2 and 24 hours before each passenger’s scheduled departure. Passenger’s Verifiable Credentials are purged from the system on the day of departure as well.

Passengers’ face biometric data remains stored on their mobile device.

Digi Yatra has gone live with a beta app at Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore airports.

Chip passports coming

India’s Ministry of External Affairs says it will begin issuing the latest generation of biometric passports by the end of 2022, the Deccan Chronicle reports.

An official said at an outreach event in Hyderabad that an agreement was signed with technology providers for the new passports this week.

The upgrade to passports with electronic chips means they can be scanned as part of faster passenger checks.

The announcement follows assurances earlier this year that the passports, which were originally slated for issuance in 2021, will roll out this year. Tata Consultancy won a contract to boost the security of India’s passports at the beginning of 2022.

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