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No plans to revive World Economic Forum’s user-controlled airport digital ID pilot

US facial verification kills off legacy kiosks
No plans to revive World Economic Forum’s user-controlled airport digital ID pilot

The Known Traveller Digital Identity program appears to have stalled, with no plans to revive a pilot that was an early casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reporting by Canada’s Financial Post.

The planned pilot involving Canada and the Netherlands was confirmed in 2019, after the initiative’s launch at the World Economic Forum in 2018. KTDI’s roots go back to a working group launched in 2015 that includes IATA, international travel document authority ICAO, and the World Travel & Tourism Council. The initiative is one of many related projects attempting to address the expected doubling of airport traffic by 2040, and related to others like IATA’s One ID.

The proposed system runs on the blockchain and gives users more control over their digital identity data.

Dutch Migration Minister Eric van der Burg said in September that his government has “no concrete plans to implement the KTDI pilot.”

A Dutch government spokesperson told the Post that the biometric hardware it had been planning to use is part of a now-suspended travel program, and it plans to focus on implementing the EU EES.

The biometric technology partners named on the KTDI website are Idemia and Vision-Box, along with Accenture.

Canada had budgeted $105 million for the KTDI pilot, but ended up spending only $430,000, along with contributions from other partners.

The article curiously associates KTDI with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, suggesting that blockchain has faded with crypto prices, despite the recent advancement of Verifiable Credentials by the W3C and major blockchain-related announcements from Microsoft to the State of California.

Self-service passport kiosks being phased out

Also missing in action are self-service passport kiosks that used to be found in many American airports, The New York Times reports.

The legacy kiosks did not perform biometric facial verification, which has led to their replacement since Customs and Border Protection reached its goal of deploying cameras at all international airports in April.

Now, CBP says facial recognition is used to verify the identity of roughly 85 percent of people entering the U.S. CBP is also deploying biometric kiosks for use with its Trusted Traveller Programs.

The old kiosks are expected to be completely retired in 2023.

The rollout of the Transportation Security Administration’s CAT-II (or CAT-2) biometric scanners is expected to ramp up in 2023 as well, according to a recent post from Deloitte.

The Times suggests that signage for the new system, including exemptions and processing alternatives, is inadequate at least at some airports. The article also looks into an apparent reduction in mobile passport lines.

CBP has also announced the signing of an agreement with the Dominican Republic Minister of Foreign Affairs to negotiate the deployment of biometric kiosks to airports in the country to expedite travel for Global Entry participants.

That means the new touchless face biometric kiosks used for Global Entry, referred to above, which can process travelers within 3.5 seconds, will soon be available in the Dominican.

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