Passport-free travel through a digital identity system may become reality by 2020, according to leaders at this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
Seeking to improve the faulty and time-consuming paper passport system, a "Known Traveler Digital Identity" program is being proposed to allow travelers to pass quickly through airports without a passport or visa.
The digital security systems would employ a mix of technologies, including biometrics, blockchain and artificial intelligence, with the goal of maximizing security, thwarting cyber-terrorism and streamlining cross-border travel.
Instead of a face-to-face security check at the airport, travelers would create a certified digital identity including biometric information, detailed personal information and travel logs, accessible on a mobile device.
This detailed digital identity could then be shared with any number of requested institutions and organizations and analyzed through an algorithm, allowing security personnel at transit points to focus attention on high-risk travelers instead.
The digital identities would be stored using blockchain in a public ledger available to institutions around the world but protected from malicious access.
After accumulating a record of safe journeys, those achieving "Known Passenger" status would be able to pass through streamlined lanes at airports.
The Known Traveler system will be tested through a number of trials, one being carried out by the Canadian government in conjunction with the Netherlands.