Blockchain is so revered as a technology in so little of a time that it is not overwhelmingly shocking but delightfully pleasing when one hears of another positive development about the technology being adopted by yet another esteemed institution.

Which is why it was less of a surprise and more of wonderful news when it was announced that the government of Canada is collaborating with the Kingdom of Netherlands and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to develop a blockchain-based platform.

The platform is based on WEF’s Known Traveler Digital Identity concept, which was designed to help authorities access cross-border travelers’ data.

The Known Traveler concept aims to prevent terrorism and other dangerous and illegal activities by ensuring that international travelers between countries could be tracked effectively, while also protecting the human right to explore new territories without the fear of added restrictions.

It also propagates the right that every traveler has – and should have – over their own identity and the aspects related to its verification, and will thus allow travelers the option to include any additional information that they would like presented in the blockchain to be viewed by these authorities.

These efforts are being taken to ensure that both travelers’ comfort and authorities’ vigilance are practiced effectively. For instance, if any law enforcement authority needs to check a traveler’s identification, then the traveler can simply guide them to the blockchain to have that information verified without going through extensive procedures.

Keeping these initiatives in mind, Canada’s developed platform will be using blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in addition to biometrics systems in order to build a comprehensive solution that can share information effectively, while also ensuring that the data and identity information for every individual is secure to the utmost level.

The ability to access any traveler’s data right away upon the traveler’s consent will help authorities in mitigating risks while also facilitating legitimate travelers.

John Moavenzadeh, Head of Mobility System Initiative at the WEF, stated:

“With travelers providing access to verified personal biometric, biographic and historical travel data at their discretion, they can assist authorities to undertake risk assessments and pre-screening in advance: essentially verifying their identities and providing secure and seamless movement throughout their journey using biometric recognition technology.” 

He said:

“Not only does this provide for greater personalization and passenger-centricity in the design of services, but the passenger becomes a central actor in ensuring public safety.”

Canada will be piloting the project and developing a proof of concept upon the prototype of the Known Traveler Digital Identity program that is being provided by the WEF.

During the trial phase, the concept will be tried between Canada and Netherlands, and depending upon its effectiveness and results, will be applied through more countries.

The initiative aims to improve the tracking mechanisms currently in place for international travelers while also providing them with the peace of mind of not having to manage multiple forms of documentation manually – which is one of the most troublesome aspects of international travel for individuals.