Use of Blockchain to Strengthen Border Control
Data-driven systems are the need of the hour and increasing amount of malpractice in various sectors is proving that point. Let’s take air travel for example. There have been instances where tourists have found out that their e-visas were fake on reaching the airport. As a consequence, they have to buy visas on the spot at a high price. Along with that their personal data and information is now in the hands of scammers. To avoid such instances, blockchain can be a really handy solution.
A lot goes on in terms of the procedure from the moment one reaches the airport. All documents need to be verified at the airline’s check-in kiosk, where a lot of factors come into play like check-in staff’s efficiency, rules, and regulations of the country of origin, the destination, the country where the visa was issued, the type of visa, actual purpose of travel, the transit country, and external resources such as Timatic (Travel Information Manual Automatic). If there are discrepancies in any of these steps, the trip could end before it even begins.
A mechanism that could prevent any such discrepancies from affecting the visa’s validity, would really benefit a traveler. Such a mechanism is actually not unrealistic. What needs to be done is that Country A will enter the details (MRZ details, biometrics, type of visa, validity etc.) in a database which can be accessed by the airline system and immigration office at Country B when the traveler is traveling from A to B. If the traveler is traveling to country A from country B via a transit at country C, then it would be possible for country C to validate the visa details by accessing the database. This mechanism would make the travel document validation process that much more efficient. It would also reduce the chances of human-trafficking. It would also reduce the chances of operational errors and reduce costs to a minimum.
Blockchain makes such a system possible. All that the travel authorities need to do is add a travel history transaction holder on their blockchain network and that would allow the country to keep a track of any overstay. Blockchain can offer an efficient and centralized source of data that will reduce the chances of any errors. Blockchain can also solve issues created by stolen, damaged or lost passports/goods. The technology can report it to the authorities and potentially prevent fraudulent identity usage.
Currently, no such system is being envisaged but we can hope for the existence of such a system in the future with the increasing popularity of blockchain in various countries.