Accenture helps Canadian government with new border security app

02 March 2018 3 min. read

The federal government of Canada has hired Accenture to develop a new border security application. Upon the launch of its pilot, the digital programme will allow for ‘known travellers’ to pass between the borders of Canada and the Netherlands more quickly, using their mobile devices.

According to the World Economic Forum, international traveller arrivals are expected to jump from 1.2 billion in 2016 to 1.8 billion by 2030. This will increase risk and security requirements for the aviation and travel and tourism sectors.

Increases in international travel have already put numerous industries under pressure to meet spiraling levels of demand. Most notably, this has seen the global commercial aviation space projected to grow its fleet by more than 10,000 planes over the next decade. However, growing levels of cross-border travel are also leaving immigration authorities keen to explore new ways of expediting border security protocol.

The Known Traveller Digital Identity, announced at the Davos World Economic Forum in January, is a joint venture between the governments of Canada and the Netherlands, and will be tested first on travellers going between those countries. Similar, to other trusted-traveller programs such as Nexus – which allows people quicker movement between Canada and the US – the Known Traveller Digital Identity program will ask travellers for detailed personal information for pre-screening, including university education, bank statements and vaccination records.

Accenture helps Canadian government with new border security app

The new pilot programme will allow people to cross borders faster if they create a digital profile, filled with their personal information – including biometrics like retina and facial recognition – on their mobile devices. In addition to providing personal information before travelling, user profiles would be automatically updated as they move around the world. The more borders they cross, the more trusted they will become.

The plan is for the app to be ready for a wider global rollout by 2020. In order to ensure that the project meets that deadline, global consultancy Accenture has been drafted in to help develop the programme.

With the spectre of the GDPR now looming over global businesses, Accenture said user information will be safeguarded. The firm confirmed that users will be able to decide who they want to share their information with, and when, on a case-by-case basis.

In a statement to Canadian broadcaster, CBC News, the company said, "No personal information is stored on the ledger itself, ensuring that personal information is not consolidated in one system, which would make it a high value target for subversion.”

The ID scheme would theoretically reduce times at the airport and make the overall experience more efficient, as passengers would only be required to present their biometric, biographic and personal data securely stored in a Blockchain based ID. However, critics worry that this would create a two-tier system, with those unable to afford such an app left stranded in longer queues, with lower levels of service.

Related: Accenture selected to design and deliver Vatican News portal