The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency representative said that using Blockchain for biometric tracking would be the technology’s killer app in the travel security sector. Program manager at the CBP, Sikina Hasham made her remarks during a panel at the JetBlue Technology Ventures Blockchain in Travel Summit in New York City on Wednesday.
During the summit, Hasham pointed out that an area of significant promise for the government’s use of blockchain lies in its conjunction with biometrics. She says that one area we’ve seen a significant amount of success in is a 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. However, Hasham noted that a significant hurdle still needs to be overcome for the technology to gain traction and provide maximum use value: the development of standardized specifications for communication between multiple organizations’ blockchain systems. If governments are to implement blockchain, rather than legacy databases, to share data within key security areas such as border control, robust standards for the industry would thus be a crucial enabling factor, Hasham added.
On the challenges what government reportedly tackling currently, Hasham expressed that our primary goal is security, but also facilitating trade and travel. The 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. Recently, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appealed those startups who develop Blockchain solutions that can support in thwarting phony of digital documents, with the intention of serving the mission needs of various programs under its aegis, among them CBP.