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Pilot shows digital travel credentials’ evolution in progress

EAB CEO Dinusha Frings leads the discussion
Pilot shows digital travel credentials’ evolution in progress

By Yunus Emre Yıldırım, Legal & Policy Intern at European Association for Biometrics

Identity Week Europe 2023 was held in Amsterdam between June 13th and 14th, attracting over 4,000 professionals from the identity industry. One of the noteworthy highlights of the event was the session on the Secure and Seamless Contactless Biometrics, which was moderated by Dinusha Frings, the CEO of the European Association for Biometrics.

The session started with an illuminating presentation by Anouk Cartrysse, a Research & Development Adviser at the National Office for Identity Data (RvIG). Anouk Cartrysse introduced the audience to the DTC-1 pilot — a solution that involves securely storing an electronic representation of a passport on a smartphone. This virtual credential provides an accurate representation of the electronic machine-readable travel document, encompassing the holder’s biographical data and facial image. However, it is important to note that DTC type 1 still necessitates the physical possession of the original document while traveling.

The DTC-1 pilot project was launched by the European Commission to test the Digital Travel Credential on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights between the Netherlands and Canada, as well as on Finnair flights between Finland and Croatia, until 26 March 2023, just before Croatia’s inclusion in Europe’s Schengen visa-free travel zone.

Anouk Cartrysse emphasized the practical implementation of the DTC-1 pilot, showcasing its seamless integration from boarding to the border check via a dedicated mobile app. Furthermore, she underscored the legal dimensions of the project, specifically highlighting the absence of regulatory frameworks pertaining to digital travel documents.

Following the presentation, the session transitioned into an engaging panel discussion. Dinusha Frings, serving as both the session moderator and panel moderator, guided the conversation. The panel consisted of three experts from the law enforcement and the aviation sector: Mika Hansson, Senior Adviser at the Finnish National Police Board; Nick van Straten, Program Director Biometrics at KLM; and Jacob Österlindh, Adviser at the Swedish Police Authority.

Mika Hansson provided a comprehensive overview of Finland’s pilot program, drawing from their first-hand experiences. He also introduced the several types of DTCs, including type 3, which eliminates the need for any physical document with the passenger.

Nick van Straten elucidated the existing procedures for passenger boarding and highlighted the tangible benefits of the DTC project, including considerable time savings and cost reductions.

Jacob Österlindh emphasized the challenges faced by the law enforcement, in particular the transmission of data over borders. He underlined the essential need for smooth communication to ensure the effective implementation of the DTC.

To conclude the session, Andrew Bud, the founder and CEO of iProov, delivered a presentation on the latest developments in remote biometric verification, specifically highlighting new defence strategies against generative AI.

The session was a great success, the conference theatre filled with an enthusiastic and engaged audience, reaching its full capacity. The session served as an invaluable platform for experts from various sectors to explore the frontiers of secure and seamless contactless biometrics, exchange ideas, and provide useful insights to the participants.

About the author

Yunus Emre Yıldırım is a Legal & Policy Intern at European Association for Biometrics.

DISCLAIMER: Biometric Update’s Industry Insights are submitted content. The views expressed in this post are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Biometric Update.

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