New York City Vaccine Passport Plan Updates Online Privacy Discussion

when New York City announced on Tuesday Mayor Bill de Blasio said that in order to enter the company, he must immediately present evidence of at least one coronavirus vaccination, and the system is “simple. You can join by just presenting it.” I did.

What wasn’t that simple was the privacy debate that the city rekindled.

Vaccine passportDe Blasio’s plans are based, often in electronic form, such as apps, that show evidence of vaccination. For months, these records (also known as health passes or digital health certificates) have been used around the world as a tool to enable vaccinated people at low risk of the virus to gather safely. It has been discussed. New York is the first US city to include these passes in its vaccine obligations and may take similar actions elsewhere.

However, mainstreaming these credentials could usher in an era of enhanced digital surveillance, privacy researchers say. This is because vaccine paths can enable location tracking, even if there are few rules about how people’s digital vaccine data can be stored and the meantime Existing privacy law Restrict information sharing between healthcare providers. There is no such rule when people upload their data to the app.

According to privacy advocates, this moment is reminiscent of the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was then that the changes made in the name of national security had lasting effects, including taking off shoes at the airport and collecting data made possible by the Patriot Act.

Without current safeguards, presenting a digital vaccination passport every time people enter a public place would “a world map of where people go,” said Ally Baume, a policy adviser to the New York Civil Liberties Association. It may lead to. She said this information could be used by third parties for profit or passed on to law enforcement agencies or immigration bureaus.

Make sure you don’t say within 20 years, “I have this passport on my phone, which is now also a driver’s license and has all the health records I’ve ever had, because I had Covid.” What should I do? Do I have and need to swipe every time I enter the store? “Mr. Baume said.

She added that Path could be particularly detrimental to groups that are more concerned about privacy, including undocumented groups. The New York Civil Liberties Association and other advocacy groups support legislation to prevent vaccination data from being shared with law enforcement authorities and to prevent paths from becoming permanent health trackers.

Vaccine passports are mostly deployed in the United States without a national framework. President Biden excludes national vaccine paths and decides whether and how to install their own electronic systems in states, cities and private sectors to track vaccinated people I entrusted you to do it.

Some companies that developed digital vaccine paths sought to anticipate privacy concerns. Recently, more than 200 private and public organizations have joined the Vaccination Credential Initiative, a coalition aimed at standardizing the recording and protection of vaccine data.

Many developers said they struggled to keep their passports from crossing privacy boundaries. Clear Secure, the security company that created the health paths used by more than 60 organizations (mostly sports venues), “carefully processes” health data about users and protects them with a variety of tools. Said. Employers and venues can only see red or green traffic lights that indicate whether the user has been vaccinated, he said.

The Commons Project, a non-profit organization that developed a vaccine pass called CommonPass, stores vaccination and test data on users’ phones and temporarily sends information to servers to ensure that travelers meet their requirements. Upload. Airlines using CommonPass, such as JetBlue and Lufthansa, can only check if passengers are allowed to travel, he said.

JP Pollak, co-founder of the Commons Project, said the group’s vaccine path was “trustworthy” and kept user data private.

However, while vaccine passports are still in their infancy, the Covid-19 contact tracking app, introduced early in the pandemic, is already being used by more authoritarian countries in a way that raises privacy issues. As a result, researchers have little confidence in how these vaccine paths will be used later.

For example, in China, a program called “reportInfoAndLocationToPolice” in the Alipay Health Code is used by the Chinese government to assess people’s health. Send person’s location, City name, and code number that identifies to the server as soon as the user grants the software access to personal data.

In Singapore, authorities said in January that data from the country’s coronavirus contact tracing system was used for criminal investigations, but leaders initially said they would only use it for contact tracing. February, Singapore passed A law that limits such use to “serious” criminal investigations only.

“One of the things we don’t want is that we can’t normalize and remove surveillance in an emergency,” said Jon Callas, director of technology projects at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group. I am.

No such incident has occurred in the United States, but researchers say they have already seen the possibility of overkill. Some have pointed out the city of New York, where proof of vaccination requirements began on August 16th and will come into force on September 13th.

As proof, people can use a paper vaccination card, the NYC Covid Safe app, or another app, the Excelsior Pass. NS Excelsior Pass Developed by IBM under an estimated $ 17 million contract with New York State.

To get the pass, people upload their personal information. In the standard version of the pass, companies and third parties only check if the pass is valid and the person’s name and date of birth.

On Wednesday, the state announced the Excelsior Pass Plus. This includes detailed information about when and where the individual was vaccinated, as well as whether the individual was vaccinated. According to the state of New York, companies scanning Pass Plus “may be able to save or save the information it contains.”

The Excelsior Pass says “Phase 2,This may include expanding the use of the app and adding information that companies can see at the time of entry, such as personal information and other health records.

IBM says it uses Blockchain Techniques and encryption to protect user data do not say how. The company and New York did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. De Blasio I told WNYC in April He understands privacy concerns about Excelsior Pass, but still considers it to “play an important role.”

So far, some states and cities are cautious. More than a dozen states, Including Arizona, Florida, Texas, In the last few months Announced certain bans on vaccine passports. Mayors of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle also said they have postponed their passport programs.

Some business groups and companies that have adopted vaccine paths have said that privacy concerns are valid but manageable.

Airlines for America, an industry group, said it supported the passing of the vaccine and encouraged the federal government to establish privacy standards. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, which helps members work with Clear, has a tool to ensure that only vaccinated people enter the store, rather than reclosing the business as cases of the virus increase. He said it was preferable to use it.

“Privacy is precious,” said Rodney Fong, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, but “when we’re talking about saving lives, the privacy part is a little less important.”

New York City Vaccine Passport Plan Updates Online Privacy Discussion

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