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Finland to Become the First EU Country to Test Digital Passports

zlqry

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

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

> 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

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.

cjrp

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

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.

sdoering

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.

codeisawesome

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?

dzhiurgis

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

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

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

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

> 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

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

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

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

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

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

vladvasiliu

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

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

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

dzhiurgis

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

ChuckNorris89

> 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

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.

helloworld11

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.

mytailorisrich

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

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

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...

worble

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

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

dzhiurgis

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

brador

How will you travel to the embassy?

vladvasiliu

> 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

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

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

asdojasdosadsa

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

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

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

mdre

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

> 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

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

varispeed

martimarkov

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

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

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/