Finland to Become the First EU Country to Test Digital Passports

27
6
10 days
(schengenvisainfo.com)
by taubek

Comments

zlqry
10 days

Another digital leash. It makes sense to put a passport on a mobile tracking device.

We increasingly live in a world where no transaction between two individuals is possible without the approval of a third party. Citizens become digital subjects.

prox
10 days

I believe it also changes the onus. With the passport I can simply proof That I am who I say I am. In a digital passport it suddenly my burden to prove it through the intervention of a server. “I am sorry, you are not in our database, you don’t exist.”

That depends on how it’s implemented ofcourse, but still a third party remains a liability.

Galanwe
10 days

> In a digital passport it suddenly my burden to prove it through the intervention of a server

Maybe I did not read the article well enough, but why would these passports not be simple signed certificates? No need for any network of third party to check whether they were signed by a trusted authority.

varispeed
10 days

Because private certificate may leak and it will be difficult if not impossible to tell a fake from the real thing. I believe at one point this happened with Covid passports in some countries.

dan1234
10 days

If it did leak, why wouldn’t they just revoke and then reissue the valid passports with a new private key?

The same argument could be made about the possibility of a CA’s key being leaked.

varispeed
10 days

Reissuing passport for the entire population is not exactly practical, plus you'll be having a period when you can't tell who has a legit passport, so probably everyone would have to be treated as a potential criminal.

martimarkov
10 days

Yes but the EU already has digital signatures.

Also if the private cert is in the Secure Enclave it’s harder to leak.

But also your physical passport can be stolen

cjrp
10 days

What do you think they do with a passport at border control though? They scan it, and you get looked up in a DB.

doikor
10 days

In EU the passport also contains your biometric identifiers. The RFID chip on the passport contains your fingerprints and picture. This also allows the electronic passport control at airports etc where the machine compares what you look like to the photo on the chip.

dzhiurgis
10 days

Send that pic to my countries server which will answer true/false. Whats the point of storing that on passport?

doikor
9 days

So it works on the airport if the internet/whatever server is down. Makes the gates a lot simpler too if they do not require a connection to the internet to work properly.

And integrating the gates with 27+ different systems built by different countries (by most likely some local it company you have never heard of) would be a nightmare.

dzhiurgis
9 days

IDK if you noticed, but when servers go down all airports go haywire. IDK how many systems are out there, but I assume thousands already. Just about every country now requires e-visa now too, all checked by airline before departure.

And by the way - if countries managed to agree on offline passport implementation, which is way more complicated, I don't see how they can't nail online one.

sdoering
10 days

I often have to use the passport to prove who I say I am within my country. In case I collect a parcel at the post office for example. This with the person at the counter looking at the passport and not doing any scan of it.

So the liability risk model with an added server increases massively.

kingofsevens
10 days

There is a black box model of verifying identity without revealing any information. Blockchain might come handy here but I agree on not relying on another server level.

agubelu
10 days

I think I have a decent technical understanding of how blockchains work, but I still sometimes have trouble understanding how exactly they would work for some proposed applications like this one. Could you please ellaborate?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that the whole point of a blockchain is to update and maintain information in a distributed manner and in a trustless environment. In this case:

- Could any person (who finds an appropriate nonce) update this blockchain with whatever information they want?

- What information would be stored in it?

- Doesn't it make more sense for this kind of data to be centralized rather than distributed? Unless the black box model you mentioned specifically needs a blockchain

dzhiurgis
10 days

I used to live in NZ where you'd never ever get Id'd like that. That's a bizarre level of personal detail collection. Yet back in Lithuania even to get to talk with a bank about mortgages I have to put my ID number and DOB...

codeisawesome
10 days

Always been curious about this. In the movies we see characters printing out a fake passport on official looking paper, then the spy/superhero etc. shows up at a border and goes through.

If there’s a DB lookup it shouldn’t be possible to vend new passports without a persistent and undetected hack of the backend? If it’s a stolen passport with the photo changed, that should also show up on the lookup screen?

Avamander
10 days

> If there’s a DB lookup it shouldn’t be possible to vend new passports without a persistent and undetected hack of the backend? If it’s a stolen passport with the photo changed, that should also show up on the lookup screen?

You're correct. Biometric passports are hard to forge without a complicit country.

dzhiurgis
10 days

This. There's billions of dollars wasted for this security theatre. By the time you bought your ticket there's 100s of ad companies know exactly where you'll be going, yet you have to faff around with an over-engineered piece of paper & plastic that you'r supposed to be proud of.

pgcj_poster
9 days

A passport is a document that states whose subject you are, whether you have their permission to travel, and where you've been before. It has never been anything but a leash.

rahimnathwani
10 days

The headline seemed weird to me, as you need at least two countries to test a new type of passport (the issuing country and the country accepting the passport for entry).

Sure enough, the article says:

"the initial plan is to test digital travel documents between Finland and Croatia"

Ekaros
10 days

Croatia seems rather strange choice. It is not exactly the most popular travel destination. But then again most of those are in Schengen, and I don't think you can expect too much from UK and deals with Russia have some issues currently. So I don't think list is too big.

ageitgey
10 days

> Croatia seems rather strange choice. It is not exactly the most popular travel destination.

Maybe you just aren't familiar with it, but Croatia is a very popular summer beach vacation destination for Europeans looking to hit the beach in the summer. The beaches are beautiful, they have old architecture in cities like Split and it's relatively inexpensive to visit. They get ~20 million tourists a year and tourism is about 20% of their GDP.

taubek OP
9 days

Yes, Croatia is not in Schengen yet. The decision on that should be made in autumn.

This is the experiment so I guess that it is better to run it with countries that are not the tip destination. I've just looked up the numbers for 2019, 118 000 visitors came to Croatia from Finland (https://www.ceicdata.com/en/croatia/tourist-arrivals-by-coun...).

nano9
10 days

Besides having one thing fewer to carry on your person, I don't see the point. Aren't passports already cryptographic devices, containing your information for external lookup and verification? Why move that to the phone? If anything that decreases security, and it's not like your need your passport available commonly enough like a bus pass to warrant moving to the phone. Passports with a chip offer fantastic security in a discrete package, and if the future is to move this to the phone then I will be a bit disappointed.

oittaa
10 days

I really hope EU driver's licenses will follow soon. After that I could actually stop carrying a wallet. Cash usage basically stopped in Northern Europe years ago, but for some reason we still have to carry these few relics when driving or traveling.

phillc73
10 days

I absolutely hope this does not happen. It’ll be another trade of perceived convenience over privacy. I absolutely do not want to run my life from my phone. I want to pay for things with cash. I am happy to perform admin tasks in person where required.

I live in Austria and cash is still used in a big way. Many smaller restaurants in the rural areas only accept cash. I withdraw cash from the ATM at the entrance to my local supermarket in order to pay for groceries with cash. On a recent trip to the UK I was surprised at the number of locations where cash payments were not possible. Want a Thames riverboat? Card only. Want to enter Warwick Castle? Card only. Want to buy something in the gift shop for £5? Card only. It was actually pretty annoying, as I had a fat wad of Pounds Sterling notes. At least cash was still possible in every pub I visited, even if their default assumption was a card payment.

Up until recently I was in no way digitally connected for Austrian government services. Sadly, for some business reasons I had to acquire a “Handy Signature” (basically 2FA via your phone) to perform some operations with the tax office.

asdojasdosadsa
10 days

Why would physical (passport, cash) be excluded if digital option is added?

vladvasiliu
10 days

It shouldn't, but if history is any indication, the new will replace the old. Especially if they conjure some kind of feel-good reason, like fighting against terrorists or something.

varispeed
10 days

Example from today - I was in a supermarket and all self-checkout machines that accept cash were defunct except one, so there was a huge queue of people who wanted to pay with cash and no queue of people paying with card.

I see that there is a silent war on cash - they try to make it as inconvenient as possible and then claim not enough people use it to sustain Cash Points, cash self-checkout etc.

Digital money remove agency from people. You no longer own it - you just have access to it that it can be withdrawn on a whim (see Trudeau casus) and then they will be deciding what you can or cannot buy based on your profile. Google about CBDC - programmable money that is in the works. Cash stands in the way.

phillc73
10 days

The self checkouts are a problem in themselves. Where I have the choice, I will always go to a human operated checkout line. I would prefer people have jobs, rather than seeing them taken over by the self-service option.

Also in the UK recently I encountered for the first time a supermarket where self-service was the only option. As I was buying beer, before I would complete my transaction it had to be approved by a human, which seemed to defeat the purpose.

martimarkov
10 days

So the government will decide what you can buy because… why?

Big corporations want it? Big corporations want the biggest chunk of your money so they want you to have a “complete” freedom of your money so you can spend it on their products.

All these arguments sound to me like conspiracy theories because I don’t see real examples. Show me a scenario where the government would want you to not buy something. Like what would that be? Guns? Yeah I’m the EU they will block you but that’s because it’s illegal.

Do you feel like they will limit the amount of alcohol you can buy? That would be an example. But prohibition has been tried before. Ppl want alcohol and ppl vote.

Also why would the government care so much about what you buy? If their plan was to control you and stuff why do we have so many privacy laws and initiatives in the EU?

Also this seems like a very long term project. Do you believe the ppl working in the government are soooo competent?

phillc73
10 days

It’s happening already, as noted in my comment above. A fair number of venues in the UK no longer accept cash payments.

dijit
10 days

It’s very common in Sweden. There’s even tax incentives I believe.

“Kontantfri” is a sign I see very often.

doikor
9 days

Not really tax incentives but not having to pay some security company to come pick your cash every evening to store it securely in the bank and exchange the bigger notes for smaller ones so you can give change back turns out to be more expensive for smaller shops/cafes then paying whatever card transaction processor you use their ~1% fees.

So at the end of the day accepting cash is more expensive for small shops. (not 100% sure about Sweden but that is the case here in Finland).

dzhiurgis
10 days

How is ME going cashless impact your life? Keep using cash and argue with businesses what payments they DON'T expect.

ChuckNorris89
10 days

> I live in Austria and cash is still used in a big way. Many smaller restaurants in the rural areas only accept cash.

Because they do tax fraud. That's why every restaurant and small business owner in the country side has a big house and a Tesla, despite the average national take home wage being 1800€. I hope the remove cash to crack down on this. It's unfair for the rest of us with jobs to foot the bill for the government expenses while others get away without declaring their full earnings due to the use of cash. Last year it made news that the tax office caught a small farmer that defrauded the government of over 3 million Euro. And that guy is just one of many that go uncaught.

>Up until recently I was in no way digitally connected for Austrian government services.

Why is everyone in Austria so backwards, conservative and against any kind of technological progress? I'm not Austrian but I have to live there unfortunately and day to day stuff is a huge pain:

Everything is cash with lines at the supermarket taking ages until every customer's coins are counted and accounted for, plus all the constat letters and paperwork is a nightmare. Very little digitalization throughout the country. Not that different than Germany, but at least Germany has a mich bigger jobs market with proper wages to make up for the discomfort.

That's why Austrian devs earn less than Estonians, Poles or Romanians. This excessive conservativism is holding Austria back massively and the gap will widen as it's just not a compelling county for tech companies to do business in. It's not as rich and big market as Germany, nor as low-tax, rich and innovative as Switzerland, nor as cheap and low-tax as Poland, Estonia or Romania, nor as progressive, innovative and low-tax as Netherlands.

phillc73
10 days

Holding Austria back from what?

I’m not Austrian either, do live there and despite some factors I’m not a fan of, the lack of digitisation in society in general is a strong selling point for me.

I really do believe that excessive digitisation of society is trading personal autonomy (freedom, privacy) for some kind of perceived convenience. Personally, I think the trade off is not worth it. I do not want big business (banks) and the government able to track every location I’ve been to and every cent I’ve spent.

I’m also concerned about reliance on digital services, which can be prone to failure - not a problem with cash - and for those unfortunate people without a bank account, the inability to use cash is life damaging.

Having been through many, many hoops with the UK’s Home Office (including a 13 month Visa Appeal process, which ended up in court where the Home Office didn’t even bother to send a representative), compared to the supremely easy and face to face process in obtaining an Artikel 50 Brexit visa in Austria, I’d choose the Austrian process every time.

ChuckNorris89
9 days

>I really do believe that excessive digitisation of society is trading personal autonomy (freedom, privacy) for some kind of perceived convenience.

The convenience is not perceived, it's real and measurable, that's why people in many countries love going digital voluntarily. The time saved from doing stuff off my phone or PC instead of sitting in line at government offices means more free time to do what I like. Paying contactless means lines at the supermarket last 30 seconds instead of 3 minutes or more and I can catch the train instead of missing it because 3 people in front of me are still counting their change. The gains are real, not perceived.

And what extra freedom do you have from not going digital? If the government wants to screw you, like the trucker protestors in Canada, they'll just lock your bank accounts and you loose access to all your fund including ability to pay rent, regardless if you're digital or not. So what then? How many days can you go with just the 60€ in your wallet and no acces to your bank account. Unless you're the kind of person to keep all your money under the mattress (which I doubt you are but maybe you'll surprise me) you gained absolutely nothing from that while everyone loses all the convenience. The only ones who gain are business owners commiting tax fraud or people doing other illegal activities, which I condemn, and a cash free society would make them unable to doge taxes anymore making it fair for everyone.

>Holding Austria back from what?

Holding it back from money and jobs from one of the most lucrative international business sectors in the world (why do you think SV/California is so rich?). Holding it back from technological progress generating said jobs. Holding it back from highly skilled immigrants who are looking to work in this sector and will pay high taxes which support the government and population, but instead go to work somewhere else.

helloworld11
6 days

Part of your attitude boils down to: I wish all these shady, ignorant people would stop living their own lives more privately because it makes my life slightly less easy. They're probably criminals anyhow.

>The only ones who gain are business owners commiting tax fraud or people doing other illegal activities, which I condemn, and a cash free society would make them unable to doge taxes anymore making it fair for everyone.

Define illegal activities. Also be aware that very random things can suddenly be made illegal for very corrupt or self-interested political reasons (australia and Canada spring to mind here more recently, so too does Russia to a much greater degree). The ability to fight back against overreach by society's single most powerful entitiy, the state, be it with cash or some other means of defiance is fundamentally a good thing and has been throughout history. At the very least small time tax dodging and grey market deals are a much less historically and fundamentally evil thing than governments overusing their powers for repressive ends.

Also, tax evasion in a fully digitized, cashless society would happen just the same, but it would now be done only by large companies and the very wealthy, who have the pull to buy their favorite laws, politicians and special exemptions. Your claimed individual, middle or lower class tax dodgers matter much less. What will matter however is the inability of normal people to keep their heads above water because they can no longer hide certain things from irresponsible tax collection or onerous regulations.

You seem to think that more easily catching a few tax dodgers and making the misery of having no escape from taxes more "fairly" distributed is a worthy gain in exchange for a total surveillance state that has the tools to control you at any time of political winds shift.

mytailorisrich
10 days

When I travel abroad I leave my passport in a safe place as much as I can if I don't absolutely have to carry it with me, along with a payment card and some cash.

If I lose my phone or wallet I still have my passport and a mean of payment.

Now I foresee a future in which a cause of homelessness will be losing your phone.

kzrdude
10 days

There's already enough connected to the phone that it is terrifying what would happen if I were to lose it. Especially when travelling, but also when just working and commuting.

Ekaros
10 days

I hate that we are building this single point of failure for absolutely everything. From money, to house and car keys. And then everything financial.

First reasonable problem is simply losing it or it breaking. That is fun times if you don't have physical keys anymore. No car, no access to home, no way to contact the support...

And second is that I'm paranoid and I don't think it will be safe enough. Thus connecting absolutely everything to it and identity it provides just feels scary. I think I could possibly buy an apartment with a loan if there was ID connected to phone and it was cracked...

nonrandomstring
10 days

> we are building this single point of failure for absolutely everything. I don't think it will be safe enough.

It won't. I believe we are actively setting up not only the biggest ever terrorist attack on civilised nations, which will dwarf 9/11, but potentially setting up a total and irrecoverable collapse. I find it increasingly hard not to think this is deliberate because I am unable to comprehend the colossal stupidity of our current trajectory viz "smartphones". It's like we want this to happen. Smartphone over-reliance is the single biggest national security threat I can see. We urgently need policy level thinking to shift things into a safer space.

dzhiurgis
10 days

In a healthy society first person you ask for help would drop what they do and drive you to get a new phone or let use your phone to contact support. Too bad there are places or situations (i.e. dark gloomy night and you happen to be male outside of commonwealth) where people will turn away.

Ekaros
10 days

And now, how will you prove that you are you when buying new phone? They will ask you to show the ID on the phone. Or click a link they just emailed you. Or hey why not give us this 2FA code, be it from generator or SMS...

dzhiurgis
9 days

That's telco's problem, innit? You can still have physical ID at home, for special scenarios just like this. The certificate from cards chip should just let you sign a new certificate in your new sim card.

Or just use any type of biometrics. You give your name (pointless, really) and agree to face-id. Face hash gets validated by gov server.

Facebook has solved this a decade ago. Big tech companies know 90% of population by name, face, all their kinks, activities, plans and desires - can the governments please catch up.

kzrdude
10 days

And you need a new sim card for the existing phone number etc etc :)

sveme
10 days

It also means you become susceptible to the whims of Apple if anything breaks, is stolen or you lose it. Just imagine Google's horrid customer service and then you trying to navigate it to have a blocked account (to which your digital ID is connected) unblocked.

worble
10 days

They just need to accept both. I can print off a digital plane ticket and keep one on my phone, if I lose one I always have the other. If I lose my physical passport though, I'm completely stuck. If I can have a physical and digital one though, there is at least some redundancy built in.

dajoh
10 days

People losing their passports is not a new problem. Embassies can help you out and issue emergency travel documents for such situations.

dzhiurgis
9 days

Assuming every country has an embassy of each country (i.e. mine was 12 hours of flight time away)

brador
10 days

How will you travel to the embassy?

tokinonagare
10 days

Hitch-hiking for example. It's not forbidden to ask people for help, most will refuse but there's often some kind soul that will give a hand.

dajoh
10 days

If I have no other better option: walk.

jaclaz
9 days

If you happen to be in a city where an embassy or consulate of your country actually exists, typically embassies are in the capital city of a country, and if you come from some countries there may be consulates in some other "main" city, but that's it.

You may need to "walk" hundreds of km to reach one of those.

vladvasiliu
10 days

> When I travel abroad I leave my passport in a safe place as much as I can if I don't absolutely have to carry it with me, along with a payment card and some cash.

I do, too. Then I went to the US and wanted to grab a beer. Had to go back to the hotel to get my passport to prove I'm over 21. My EU driver's license wasn't good enough (it had to be from that state). I'm also old enough to start balding.

csomar
10 days

Recently, I started carrying two phones. You can lose the phone or you can break it.

An iPad/tablet should do the job though.

itsthejb
10 days

The trick is to have a backup phone. I’ve been tending to keep an older generation iPhone, usually bought refurbished. I use it for run tracking, and have taken it on trips in the past as an “internet diet” device. It has access to my Bitwarden, Authy, etc, but keep installed apps to a minimum. Currently an iPhone 8

helloworld11
6 days

I can't stand this attitude. People who think like you on this do a lot to help move the surveillance society and the potential for turnkey repression forward endlessly. No evil reasons needed, but a constant stream of self absorbed platitudes of "oh but it's so convenient, I hope everyone else has to do it too, and make trivial things even easier for me". These of course remain blind to any perspective of how history has shown governments and criminal organizations using the ability to track everything for creating easy victims of others. No matter though right? As long as it saves you from having to carry a few ounces of wallet around because oh, it's such a "relic." Sooner or later basic privacy, anonymity and the freedoms that are bound to these can also become complete relics of the past, but I suppose that will be a relief, because so much will be convenient.

asdojasdosadsa
10 days

Pretty much my exact reaction to this article. There actually was a test period (ended 2020) testing a digital drivers license in Finland!

(Finnish) https://www.puhelinvertailu.com/uutiset/2022/02/09/sahkoinen...

diggan
10 days

I thought this was already a thing? I have my Spanish driving license on my phone via MiDGT (published by the Directorate-General for Traffic which is the government entity responsible for traffic/road in Spain), do other EU countries not have this too? I thought it was EU-wide but maybe it's just in Spain.

hadrien01
10 days

It depends entirely of the country. For example, Poland and Portugal have digital driver's licenses, but France and Germany do not.

mdre
10 days

In Poland you don't need to carry one, I've been walletless for like a year now. It's a shame the driver's database is not EU-wide - that would be awesome.

vladvasiliu
10 days

> It's a shame the driver's database is not EU-wide

I'm pretty sure in France, the police won't be happy if they stop you, and you can't show your license and vehicle papers. Even though they are in a database, with the photograph for the license. And they also seem to know enough just by reading the plates to send you automated speeding tickets by snail mail.

ranguna
10 days

Wut? I thought we had that in Portugal for years now

varispeed
10 days
martimarkov
10 days

I guess when I read their website I don’t freak out. What exactly is the thing that worries you from their website?

pretext-1
10 days

Looks like OP fell into the "Great Reset" conspiracy theory rabbit hole. The article does not mention anything related to "social credit score" and replacing a hardware passport (which is already equipped with a chip) with a software version would not make a difference anyway.

nbzso
10 days

There is no conspiracy when everything is public information. This is an agenda. Check the links from my comment, especially about Italian "experiment".

You can check Naomi Klein view on "the conspiracy". If you wish.

"The Great Reset is an attempt to create a plausible impression that the huge winners in this system are on the verge of voluntarily setting greed aside to get serious about solving the raging crises that are radically destabilizing our world."

https://theintercept.com/2020/12/08/great-reset-conspiracy/

nbzso
10 days