Imagining a World with Electronic Passports

There is something – Oh I don’t know – let’s say backwards when it comes to traveling on an airplane. In an age of state-of-the-art electronics – smartphones with dual-core processors and amazing screens, why do we need paper passports and other forms of paper identification when we travel? We all know eventually the systems will become automated and recent news at the border of US and Canada may point to a trend which will make travel a bit less stressful.

Canadian Martin Reisch recently used a scanned photo of his passport as his identification when crossing from Canada into the US. Reisch did have a real driver’s license however so this wasn’t a pure paperless ID border cross.

I remember the good old days when coming over the border from Canada or Mexico was pretty painless – there wasn’t much questioning or even looking at IDs. After 9/11 that all changed and now travel has become a process most of us frequent travelers do not look forward to.

Getting rid of paper identification would definitely be a step in the right direction – of course if it can be done safely and securely.

But in the meantime if we can find a way to allow passengers to get through security without the whole shoe and laptop removal rules it would be much appreciated. And if we can’t achieve that – how about more frequent floor washings? Some of these airport security checkpoints are let’s say post-keg-party fraternity clean and I am sure no one is thrilled to be walking barefoot or with socks through the grime.

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