Passport checks and misidentifications at airports will be a thing of the past if we start using blockchain properly
Flying long-distance can involve up to ten passport checks – but Irra Khi, CEO of airline industry blockchain security company Zamna, envisages a future with no checks at all.
“The percentage of assurance the financial industry has that your identity is correct is 80 per cent – one in five times they will credit-check the wrong person,” she explained. “And 50 per cent of passenger data has some form of mistake in it. Airlines don’t care what our data is – they care that we’ve paid for a seat. There are 17 different spellings of the name Muhammad. A mistake in that spelling can have significant implications, if one particular name happens to be on a watch list.”
To ensure data is trustworthy, she argued, it has to be secure. “Open data is very vulnerable, but even companies meeting GDPR’s privacy-by-design demands have central corporate data houses, so they’re keeping all the obfuscated data sets in one place. We know how powerful it is if someone gets hold of that data held in a single place, and puts it to use in a nefarious context.”
Zamna uses the blockchain to decentralise data and ensure it remains immutable. The company uses more than 500 steps to ensure data can’t be decrypted and, when pitching to British Airways parent company IAG, was told by IAG data scientists it would take between one million and ten million years to hack just one fragment.
Although Zamna is working with governments and airlines, Khi’s inspiration was domestic. “When we go online and find childcare, that’s a huge vulnerability,” she pointed out. “We don’t know where our data goes or what their data is. We don’t know who we’re letting into our homes. It was childcare that got to me many years ago, and why I thought: I have got to sort this out.”
Obfuscated data on a privacy-by-design system with distributed data sets means you can trust someone’s data without ever seeing it. “I’m obsessed with making the world safer, so my children are not exposed in any way.”