Reports of the death of the Known Traveller Digital Identity project are greatly exaggerated, according to Transport Canada.
First announced back in 2018, the KTDI initiative was – and apparently still is – a collaboration between a number of government entities, the World Economic Forum, INTERPOL, and Accenture, with the governments of Canada and the Netherlands being key players. Their aim was to develop a digital ID system for travelers flying between the countries, storing the data across a cryptographically secured, distributed ledger system.
The following year brought a related development in the announcement of a partnership between the World Travel & Tourism Council and the WEF that would focus on the use of biometric technology to improve security and the passenger experience at airports. In announcing the partnership, the WTTC framed it as one that was complementary to the WEF’s Known Traveller Digital Identity program.
The ensuing pandemic appeared to put a halt to that momentum, with at least one report concluding this year that the KTDI initiative had been quietly put on hiatus, framing it as a victim of the collapse in cryptocurrency markets. But even in that report, Transport Canada spokesperson Sau Sau Liu was insisting that her organization considered itself to be in the “early stages of planning” for the project.
Now, another Transport Canada spokesperson, Hicham Ayoun, is going even further, telling The Epoch Times that “[all] partners remain committed to working together to close out the project and disseminate the knowledge gained through this initiative.” Ayoun acknowledged that there had been a pause in the program, but explained that aviation industry partners nevertheless continued with their own trials of biometric and digital identity technologies; and Ayoun asserted that some of the lessons that have already been gleaned from the KTDI initiative were delineated in a 2021 White Paper from the WEF entitled “Accelerating the Transition to Digital Credentials for Travel”.
What’s more, Ayoun said that the Canadian government would reveal new details about innovative pilot projects involving Canadian air travel industry stakeholders would be revealed this spring. KTDI may still be shrouded in fog, but it at least appears that something is going on with the program, with more details to be revealed soon.
Source: The Epoch Times