A British start-up is behind a ‘biometric border' pilot scheme in Dubai which will allow people to simply walk through passport control.

London-based ObjectTech has reached an agreement with the Dubai government to install the system, which will use blockchain technology to protect citizens’ data.

Passengers travelling to Dubai will be able to step off planes and walk straight to baggage reclaim via a short tunnel in which a three dimensional scan of a person’s face will instantly check them into the country from an entirely digital passport.

The digital passports will not only contain the data currently stored in chips on existing e-passports, but is able to build on it to include anything from fingerprints to iris scans and facial recognition data.

A fundamental part of the digital passport is that it protects the privacy of the individual through the creation of what ObjectTech are calling a ‘self-sovereign identity’.

By using blockchain, the information stored in the new digital passports can be trusted by governments and means only citizens, and the people they specifically permit, can see their data – it’s impossible for even ObjectTech to access it.

The new digital passports are far more secure, harder to forge and more accurate than the existing passport – and cannot be lost.

“This is an identity that is fit for the digital age,” said Paul Ferris, co-founder and CEO of ObjectTech.

“Not only will it make international travel quicker and safer, but it also gives people back control of their personal digital data, which over the last decade is something that has increasingly become the property of third parties.

Dubai is really committed to improving the lives of their citizens and visitors through technology and we’re very excited to be a part of making that a reality.

“The Dubai pilot project is due to make its greatest impact by 2020, when 20 million people will be going through this one airport every month.

“ObjectTech are now looking for further funding to expand the project into new markets, both geographically and into new sectors.”

Having been chosen to take part in the Dubai government’s ‘Dubai Future Accelerator’ programme in January, the team at ObjectTech have been working with Dubai’s immigration department (the GDRFA) to apply their technology to the country’s main international airport.

The system also allows people to store their internet browsing data rather than allowing companies like Google to store and benefit from it. This could then be sold back to relevant advertisers, if the person so wished.

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