Australia passport
Australian Foreign minister Julie BishopWikimedia commons

Australians could soon travel without their passports, if a new proposal that reportedly from the "ideas challenge" organised by the country's Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) is approved.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that Australians' security will be given utmost importance while considering the "cloud passport".

It will see an individual's identity and biometric information stored online in a cloud, which will help Australians get recognised easily at the border without requiring to show any documents.

The idea of a "cloud passport" was pitched at a hackathon held at the DFAT in Canberra, attended by the secretary Peter Varghese, Assistant Minister Steve Ciobo, Chris Vein from the World Bank and the Foreign Affairs Minister herself, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"We are in discussions with New Zealand, and if we are able to put in place the appropriate requirements, including security, it's something we would like to trial and implement," Bishop told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

"Australia prides itself on having one of the most secure passports in the world, but by embracing and harnessing new technologies, we might be able to do better," she further said.

Bishop pushed the idea as part of the Turnbull government's innovation push.

As of now, other than physically carrying the passports, Australians have the facility of ePassports, which was launched in 2005. An ePassport consists of a chip that stores an individual's biometric and identity information.

With the help of Australia's "SmartGate technology", installed in several airports across the country, travellers can enter Australia without having to speak to customs officer as part of the immigration rules. Instead, the machine using the technology compares the traveller's live picture with the information stored on the passport, according to a Mashable report.

However, reports suggest that the Australian government hasn't made it clear as to how it will deal with hacking and privacy infringements, already a growing concern globally, let alone in the country itself.

Australia is reportedly already dealing with the increasing instances of pictures gathered from passports and driving licenses being used for other reasons.

The government declared in September that it would spend $13.1 million on the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, a programme that lets agencies and law enforcers across the country inspect a series of photographs of Australians saved in existing databases to identify crime suspects, Mashable reported.

While Bishop has reportedly shown "hopes" for the idea going "global", she has admitted that security standards have to be effectively implemented in order to store personal information in cloud passports.

The DFAT reported that 38, 718 passports were listed as either lost or stolen from 2014 to 2015. The number was lower by 29 in the previous season.

Also read