“Vaccine passports” may soon be required credentials.
As reported by CNN, technological and medical companies are working on software to act as validation that one has received the COVID-19 vaccine. This credential may become required for travel, and even for entry to large venues.
Multiple airlines, such as United Airlines, JetBlue, Swiss Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, are already partnering with groups like the Common Trust Network in order to verify negative COVID tests before allowing travel. The Common Trust Network explains their plans for this: “The availability of trusted, verifiable health status information, including test results and vaccination records, can help governments implement more flexible, risk-based policies and develop a more reliable assessment of individuals’ health status as a part of a multi-layered risk management approach.” Not only will this information be used by airlines to decide whether passengers can travel or not, but this information is apparently intended for use by governments for “risk management” as well.
Multiple systems have already been developed for tracking COVID vaccinations. IBM has developed a “Digital Health Pass” which shows any relevant medical information as necessary for admittance to a given location. Concerns over privacy have prompted IBM to issue a statement that their Digital Health Pass “puts privacy first.” They explain that the user must give access to health records: “Each person must give consent to release personal health data to be part of their health status. For example, they could choose to share their thermal scans and vaccination records, and they can still withhold access to lab results. What they choose to share may impact the final health status.” This final health status could be used by airlines, businesses, or the government to decide whether one is to be admitted or not.
IBM appears to be working with the Common Trust Network and the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative to put in place a larger global vaccine tracking and credential network.
The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative is a self-described “global community of more than 300 individuals from over 100 organizations looking to deploy and/or help to deploy privacy-preserving verifiable credential projects in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen our societies and economies.”
The Linux Foundation, a software group, has partnered with the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative in order to provide a larger system in which a vaccine credential system could operate. As mentioned in an article by CNN, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, Brian Behlendorf, explained that “If we’re successful, you should be able to say: I’ve got a vaccine certificate on my phone that I got when I was vaccinated in one country, with a whole set of its own kind of health management practices… that I use to get on a plane to an entirely different country…”
Earlier this year, Apple and Google collaborated to create a bluetooth system capable of tracking COVID cases. Though this system requires users to consent by entering their health information, many were concerned that such tracking systems could evolve into something Orwellian.
Big Tech has already proved that it is ready and willing to provide systems to track those who test positive for COVID, and to track those who have or haven’t gotten a vaccine. It appears that the omniscient eye of tech giants and bureaucrats may soon be trained on the American people. Many fear that Orwell is no longer dystopian fiction, but rather, the near future we all will live in.