US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Rep Talks Blockchain Biometrics for Travel Security

A US customs and border protection agency representative told Skift, a travel news agency, that blockchain tech involvement in a biometric tracking app, would be a major disruptor in the travel security space.

JetBlue Event Details

In her reply to David Post, who moderated the panel at a recent travel summit hosted by JetBlue, Sikina Hasham, the Customs and Border Protection program manager, said that biometrics is a potentially valuable area of government participation in the use of blockchain technology.

The JetBlue event was hosted on the 21st of March in New York, by the tech firm with an interest in blockchain ventures. Hasham said:

“One area we’ve seen a significant amount of success in is facial comparison and biometric data. There is a service we’ve created to verify who an individual boarding an aircraft who is as they’re seeking admission into the United States. If we could have more data for the verification from another government party, that would be really great for us.”

Adoption in Biometrics

However Hasham notes an impediment that may lie with the design of a uniform interface of communications between a number of systems across various organizations.

She also implied that the adoption of blockchain technology would inevitably require a general standard upgrade, saying that:

“Our primary goal is security, but also facilitating trade and travel. Blockchain is relatively new for us […] in the travel space, we are still working on figuring out how industry stakeholders in the technology space will help us. […] Privacy and decentralized information are some of the challenges we as a government organization have a legal obligation to protect.”

Implications for Government

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just recently reached out to blockchain tech startups towards solving issues relating to document forgery in the digital space.

This move by the DHS, also involves the CBP, as the CBP is within their regulation.

Currently, the CBP is running tests with a blockchain based system, to verify certificates of origin. The tracking of these certificates are expecting the improve the shipment tracking efficiency.

Various applications with the application of blockchain technology to biometrics, would potentially improve ATM security, biometric medical devices, and even the election process.

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