Canadian authorities are considering whether citizens should have the ability to renew their passports via a mobile app, according to a report from Global News, citing new public opinion research published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
A set of 15 focus groups was conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives with Canadian passport holders between Jan. 29-31, 2018.
Participants were asked their opinions on an initiative that would facilitate passport renewal through a native mobile app, rather than having to mail it in.
Overall, the study found there was “widespread support” for the initiative and impressions were positive in all locations and across all age groups. A majority in every group said they would be likely to use a mobile app like this to renew their passport, with half indicating that they would be very likely to do so.
A majority of participants said they would be likely to use a passport renewal app because of the convenience, but expressed security concerns.
“While it is evident that convenience is a primary consideration for participants, so are safeguards related to ensuring the security and privacy of information,” noted the report.
“Concerns related to privacy of personal information, surveillance, and sharing of information weighed heavier in participants’ overall assessments than increased convenience. Moreover, such concerns cannot be attributed to ‘fear of new technology’ among older participants, as negative reaction to the virtual passport was highest among Millennials.”
Though it is not yet available in Canada, the U.S. has officially endorsed an app called Mobile Passport, which is being used in 25 American airports. The personal data users provide the app is encrypted and stored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Canada currently uses ePassport, introduced in 2013, which contains an electronic chip that holds the information of the passport holder.