Thursday, October 29, 2015 1:53 pm
Australia is looking to experiment with a world-first innovation that would allow its citizens to travel overseas without a physical passport, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Thursday.
Revealing the idea of a “cloud passport” to Fairfax Media, the foreign minister said it came about after lengthy discussion with some Australia’s best innovators.
Earlier this year, the Department of Foreign Affair and Trade (DFAT) put out a call to its staff in Canberra and around the world, polling ideas about how best to modernize the portfolio.
Staff submitted and voted on up to 392 pitches, in what was called the “DFAT ideas challenge,” with the top ten being presented to a panel of judges which included the foreign minister.
Bishop said the cloud passport was the winning idea, with the panel of judges thinking that “it will go global.”
Last year, 38,718 Australian passports were reported to have been stolen or be missing, up from 38,689 the previous year. Under a cloud-based system, a traveler’s biometrics data and identity would be stored digitally, allowing people to freely travel without the risk of a passport getting lost or being stolen while abroad.
Bishop said a number of security requirements would have to be adhered to in order to safely store citizens’ personal data in a cloud, but a team – also involving representatives from New Zealand – was currently discussing a multinational trial of the cloud passports.