Focus on Finland: Between the country’s young prime minister who isn’t afraid to hit the dance floor and numerous innovations, Finland may not make a lot of international headlines every day but it has originated a lot of unique practices. We take a look at the first trial use of digital passports in the European Union. Finland wants to test a mobile application for identification at the borders before taking off. By Travel + Leisure
Finland could be the first country in the European Union to experiment with digital passports. The country has notified the EU of its willingness to try a pilot project for the digitisation of official documents.
Finland might become the first European country to use digital passports
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The trial will involve some Finnish volunteers on flights to Croatia from Finland. But the project is waiting for the validation of the European Commission, the institution that provides the funding. “We are currently preparing a funding application for the Commission. The application must be submitted by the end of August. After that, it will be decided whether the project will be realised or not,” Mikko Väisänen, a Finnish border guard inspector, told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
If this request is approved, the trial could start as early as spring 2023.
How do official documents in digital form work?
In the Finnish experiment, the digital official documents would be digital copies of paper documents. By uploading them to a mobile app, travellers will be able to send their documents to border authorities ahead of their trip. This initiative should save time at the border inspection and make queues more fluid.
For privacy concerns, the Finnish border guard inspector said that the documents would be deleted at the end of the trip.
Is the end of physical passports in sight?
While travellers will be asked to take their official hard copy documents with them for the experiment, in the long term, the goal is to no longer need to carry a physical passport, the inspector outlined. In the future, the documents would no longer be needed. According to the media outlet Euronews, “t[r]avellers could simply be identified using a photo of their face when they are boarding a plane or passing a security check.
“Similar projects already exist in Poland, South Korea and Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine became the first country in the world in 2021 to grant the same legal status to digital documents as to paper. Other projects are being tested in the United Kingdom and the United States.
This story was published via AFP relaxnews
Main and Feature Image Credit: Phil Mosley/Unsplash