According to Yahoo!, blockchain airline passenger ID verification company known as Zamna raised $5M seed funding round initiated by VC firms LocalGlobe and Oxford Capital, alongside with Seedcamp, the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF), Telefonica, and a number of angel investors. IAG (International Airlines Group), an existing investor, has also participated and is now Zamna’s first commercial client.
The idea is to reduce manual checks by 90%, making things more efficient. By using data sets that are exclusively available to airlines and governments, passengers can be verified and connected to their flights. As more passenger data becomes available, blockchain technology can help in maintaining data security and privacy. This could eleminate physical ID checks and the carrying of travel documents.
Mike Butcher from Techcrunch explains how it works: “Zamna’s platform is built on algorithms that check the accuracy of Advanced Passenger Information or biometric data, without having to share any of that data with third parties, because it attaches an anonymous token to the already verified data. Airlines, airports and governments can then access that secure, immutable and distributed network of validated tokens without having actually needing to ‘see’ the data an agency, or competing airline, holds. Zamna’s technology can then be used by any of these parties to validate passengers’ biographic and biometric data, using cryptography to check you are who you say you are.”
Irra Ariella Khi, Co-founder and CEO of Zamna, says: “There is a preconception that when you arrive at the airport somehow – as if by magic – the airline knows who you are, the security agencies know who you are, and the governments of departure and destination both know that you are flying between their countries and have established that it is both legitimate and secure for you to do so. You may even assume that the respective security authorities have exchanged some intelligence about you as a passenger, to establish that both you and your fellow passengers are safe to board the same plane.”
“However,” she says, “the reality is far from this. There is no easy and secure way for airlines and government agencies to share or cross-reference your data – which remains siloed (for valid data protection reasons). They must, therefore, repeat manual one-off data checks each time you travel. Even if you have provided your identity data and checked in advance, and if you travel from the same airport on the same airline many times over, you will find that you are still subject to the same one-off passenger processing (which you have probably already experienced many times before). Importantly, there is an ‘identity verification event’, whereby the airline must check both the document of identity which you carry, as well as establish that it belongs to your physical identity.”
Zamna could potentially solve problems related to governments demanding more accurate passenger data and imposing costly fines on incorrect data, airlines redirecting luggages and matching traveler data to their ETAs (electronic transit authorizations, such as eVisas).