I have been writing most recently about the prospect of so called vaccine passports coming into use when the opportunity again arises for international air travel.
One major concern I have had all along would be the need for the protection of personal data should such a scheme become the new normal for air travel, or even access to facilities or events.
Writing today in the UK, Richard Vaughan, wrote a paper he titled, ‘Paper vaccine passports will be needed in England, experts to find.’
I will quote the article for, in one paragraph, Richard Vaughan comments on my concerns and one would very much hope that whatever type of vaccine passport is issued, and by whichever country, the protection of personal data would be guaranteed.
Here is the article in full.
A Covid vaccine passport scheme will work only if users have the option of a paper-based format to gain access to venues, a government-backed trial is expected to find.
Boris Johnson is due to spell out his “direction of travel” on the use of Covid status certificates when he gives an update on a series of reviews on foreign holidays, social distancing and cultural events on Monday.
The results of a Government-funded pilot scheme testing the use of vaccine passports are due to be released within weeks, and are likely to recommend that any scheme will work only if the certificate can be checked without the use of a smartphone.
Early lessons learnt by the biometrics and cyber security firms iProov and Mvine, which led the trial, have revealed that for any system to be accepted by the public it cannot be done purely on a smartphone.
Andrew Bud, the boss of iProov, said“There are people who may not have smartphones, or don’t want to use smartphones, so there must be a solution for them that will allow them to present their proof of vaccination or negative test result in a secure way that cannot be copied or forged.”
Any scheme would need to allow people to present the number of their Covid status certificate to gain access to a venue or show up with a QR code on a piece of paper, which can be verified with a proof of ID, such as a driving licence, he added.
Should the Prime Minister announce plans to push ahead with a Covid certification scheme, it is expected that it will be in the form of an NHS-provided QR code that could be shown alongside a person’s ID to gain access to venues.
“For a certification scheme to be publicly acceptable, these credentials should store no personal data, apart from a photo, other than state this person has been vaccinated, or when they had their last negative Covid test in the past 72 hours,” Mr Bud added.
“They should not include, name, age, date of birth, or address or NHS number, otherwise people will resent that.”
iProov is also working on a solution that would allow people to verify their Covid status by using their face, using the same technology currently deployed by the NHS app.
The prospect of Covid certificates has become increasingly likely after Mr Johnson gave his backing to the idea as a means of opening up parts of the economy that cannot function under social distancing restrictions.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister insisted that certification would have a role to play in the future, particularly when it came to overseas travel.
“There is definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports,” he said.
End of quote.