Passport Report: Useful Guidance for Governments and Bad Actors?

September 15, 2020

The consulting firm Bearing Point is an interesting outfit. Marketing, of course, is job one. DarkCyber noted “BearingPoint Study Assesses the Digital Maturity of Passport Services in Countries around the Globe.” The document provides the firm’s assessment of government processes related to digital work flows. Not surprisingly, the report finds opportunities for improvement across the 20 countries surveyed.

A passage DarkCyber noted states:

No examined countries currently assessed to be at level five.

Surprising? No, the object of the study is to sell consulting services for online passport application services.

However, the report provides some useful insights for bad actors interested in figuring out what type of false documents to purchase via an illegal channel. That’s right. The report is a compendium of ideas for bad actors; for example:

The study covers twenty countries selected from across Europe and other regions. The countries included in the study are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA. Of the countries included in the study, eleven offered a partial or full online passport application service. Australia, Brazil, Estonia, France, Switzerland, and the USA were assessed at level three in the service maturity assessment. Level three represents a partial online application service in which citizens can submit application details (all data required excluding the passport image) online, in advance of attending an appointment to complete the application. The critical efficiency at this level is minimizing the volume of data inaccuracy associated with paper applications and capturing the data in advance of attending a public office, which leads to a reduction in data errors and also provides a more efficient service. Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK were assessed at level four. This represents a passport service that offers citizens an entirely online application process, though some offline interaction may be required. Passport services at this level offer online services for handling problems with the application, for example, resubmitting a photo digitally if the initially submitted photo did not meet specified standards.

The countries with what appear to be business processes in need of digital enhancement are countries like Romania and Sweden. Sweden?

The report could be used as a shopping guide for false documents which may be used to enter a country illegally. On the other hand, the report is designed to help Bearing Point sell consulting services.

Interesting information if the data are accurate.

Stephen E Arnold, September 15, 2020

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