Passports - a brief history
The passport is something that we’ve probably all had at one time or another and might even have now. There’s no doubt that a passport is a very integral part of our identity and is often used for a wide selection of tasks.
However, not everyone is aware of how the passport came to be, and where it’s future may lie. To try and help you understand the reality of that little book you keep in the desk drawer, we’re going to be taking a look at the history of the passport, and its modern incarnation today.
The passport actually began all the way back in the 1400’s. Back in those days, it literally translated to ‘authorisation to pass through a port’. Although at that point, it was used primarily to allow people to transport goods and merchandise into various different countries.
However, over time the passport evolved and became a way for anyone to freely move between countries, by making sure that everyone knew who you were and also the fact that you’d entered into a new country for a duration of time.
The current passport resembles a small book. It contains a photo of you, as well as information about you - name, address, nationality, etc. It’s designed to act as proof that you are who you say you are, and that you’re entering another country or leaving your current one.
Passports are used for a variety of different things. However, their primary function is to be used as a form of identification, and the tasks that they do perform are often derived from this basic principle.
Naturally, you use your passport to get from one country into another. The system takes note of the fact that you’re either leaving a country or coming into one, so the government or authority of that country knows who is within their borders and who isn’t.
However, you can also use your passport to prove who you are. Government forms in the UK will often accept a passport as a form of ID, and you can use it to verify your age and be served alcohol as well. It’s primarily the photographic element and the date of birth which are used in that regard, because when the passport is approved and stamped it’s recognised as an official document.
Does it have a future?
Biometric Passports are now being used in place of the original more and more because they serve as a way of identifying yourself which cannot be easily stolen or replicated. Smart tech is rapidly becoming the norm, and in the future, we could see a fully cybernetic method of passports become introduced.
All in all, the passport is something which has become more and more advanced as time goes on. It’s still a core way of people proving that they are in fact who they say they are, but this kind of process isn’t wholly foolproof yet. It’s the hope of many that the passport will continue to grow and develop, and eventually reach the point where it’s a completely safe way of proving your identity and crossing from one country to the next.