‘Will Vaccine Passports Be Our New Segregated Reality?’

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On Saturday 12 June, the public administration and constitutional affairs select committee (PACAC) which is a cross-party committee appointed to scrutinise Government will be publishing their report on Covid-Status Certification.

 

As well as announcing a decision on the planned easing, the government on Monday will set out the conclusions to several reviews, including on social distancing. The roadmap also promises the results of reviews on large events and Covid-status certification.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair is at it again; he is talking about letting the vaccinated be free of restrictions and the unvaccinated not to be. And the only way you can do that is via Covid Status Certification. “It makes no sense to treat the two groups as if they were the same.”

“It’s really important that we try and open up our economy again, because the economic damage is immense,” former Prime Minister Tony Blair told Bloomberg TV on Friday. He suggested the relaxation of rules should go ahead — at least for those that are vaccinated.

“If you’re balancing restrictions with risk management, it therefore in my view makes perfect sense to give those people who are vaccinated greater freedom,” he said. “Greater freedom to travel, greater freedom from restriction.”

There’s more of Tony Blair here:

 

The government have also published their ‘Tourism Recovery Plan’. And it makes several references to ‘COVID-status Certification’, both in a domestic and an international context.

 

It says: “The government has set out that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure. However, the review is ongoing, and no final decisions have been made.”

“With regard to vaccine certification, the government is engaging bilaterally with a range of international partners, including the potential piloting of digital and non-digital COVID-19 certification. People in England who have both vaccine doses have been able to demonstrate their COVID vaccination status via the NHS app since 17 May.”

What has Boris Johnson said? “To give business more time to prepare we will be saying more later this month about exactly what the world will look like and what role there could be, if any, for certification and social distancing” – Boris Johnson

Remember back in July 2020: That “COVID-19 is a catalyst for Digital ID, it’s needed to monitor our health status as we return to economic activity. This process requires all citizens to carry Immunity Certificates, which are essentially digital IDs tied to health data.”

 

We knew the plan was to introduce digital identity solutions to come out lockdowns back then.

And of course, providing legal identity for all (including birth registration) by 2030 is a target shared by the international community is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (target 16.9). The World Bank Group (WBG) launched the Identification for Development (ID4D) cross-practice initiative to help our client countries achieve this goal and with the vision of making everyone count ensure a unique legal identity and enable digital ID-based services to all.

 

And much more recently – “The Covid-19 vaccination passes is a milestone opportunity to set up an effective Self-Sovereign Identity management system that is cross-border and industry agnostic for global consumers.” – Hacker Noon

An effective SSI?

 

It makes no sense for the government to completely trash the concept of vaccine passports, the NHS app is already live and contains the apparatus needed, the next step is for businesses, travel and live events to start demanding such proof in the face of rising cases and variants of concern.

And it’s not just vaccine records they want to digitise, its everything on you, to then be combined into a digital ID super wallet.

Let us see how they managed to pull this off in Africa, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change gives us some really good pointers in terms of the data systems and use cases. There is no doubt they are a circle of influence for this current government and everything the Tony Blair Institute has announced, has at the very least been considered.

 

Vaccine Passports will not just be for Covid-19. “This is an immensely exciting and potentially ground-breaking initiative for recording information on all disease vaccinations and treatments in African nations.” – Tony Blair, and “Covid-19 vaccine can be co-administered with the yearly flu vaccine.”

“The Oracle Health Management System helps countries manage vaccination programmes by creating an electronic health record stored in a cloud database for every person as they are vaccinated. As a result, national coverage can be mapped. Supporting African governments to manage large-scale vaccination programmes using cloud technology.”

Ghana and Rwanda will be using the system to create electronic health records for their vaccination programmes for yellow fever, HPV, polio, measles, and Covid-19.

And from this document which they published:

 

“This is an immensely exciting and potentially ground-breaking initiative for recording information on all disease vaccinations and treatments in African nations.” – Tony Blair

“The system will also support eventual Covid-19 vaccine rollout, tracking immunisations and creating QR codes for “immunity passes.” Proof of immunisation will allow the travel and tourism sectors in Africa to reconnect to the global community, enabling economic recovery.”

“We will be living with Covid-19 for some years. The recording of data will be vital in managing its impact and spread. Oracle can provide that system with data securely stored and owned by each country and prepared to do so as part of a global philanthropic partnership.”

“All vaccination information must be stored on a central system. This system should inform government decisions on resources, prioritisation and better understanding the virus.”

“Global monitoring of vaccine efficacy and viral variants will also have implications for vaccine-passport policy. Nations will be well-served to consider vaccination status in the context of vaccine efficacy against dominant and circulating strains.”

Some have rightly started to question the point of vaccine passports as two passengers aboard the first fully vaccinated cruise ship in North America have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

“Today two guests sharing a stateroom onboard Celebrity Millennium tested positive for COVID-19 while conducting the required end of cruise testing. The individuals are asymptomatic and currently in isolation and being monitored by our medical team. We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts, and closely monitoring the situation.”

And in the announcement on Monday that Bruce Springsteen is to play a return Broadway engagement this summer at the St James Theatre, starting from 26 June, it was revealed that “audience members will be required to provide proof of full Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter the theatre”.

 

Goldman Sachs has told US staff that they must disclose their Covid-19 vaccination status to the company.

According to an internal memo sent to staff this week, employees had to inform the organisation whether they have had a Covid-19 vaccination by noon on Thursday, ahead of its plan to bring staff back to offices. The memo said: “Registering your vaccination status allows us to plan for a safer return to the office for all of our people as we continue to abide by local public health measures.”

 

“As a result, it is mandatory that you submit your vaccination status on the Canopy app [the bank’s in-house app], whether or not you are vaccinated.”

Also Expedia’s Barry Diller is all for vaccine passports. “You have to be vaccinated, you have to have proof of it, and if you get that worldwide, then travel — everything will come from that,” Diller said. Vaccine Passports “is the key to putting your mask with others in a bonfire and burning them all, and living free and open,” he said.

 

Public acquiescence will mean it will be full steam ahead for the next phase of the ‘Great Reset’ which will mean an extension of domestic vaccine passports (already being used for England’s home games in the Euros football tournament).

 

“Vaccine Passports” on the surface, may seem like a reasonable solution. But to “return to normal”, we also must consider that inequity and problems with access are a part of that normal.

These proposals require a new covid status infrastructure and culture of doorkeepers to public places regularly requiring the public to display a token as a condition of entry. This would be a giant step towards pervasive tracking of our day-to-day movements. And these systems would create new ways for corporations to monetize our actions and data.

We are not comforted when we hear people say: “don’t worry, digital vaccine passports will only check whether a person was vaccinated and will not collect information about them.” Guys, once the infrastructure is built, it requires just a few lines of code to turn digital passports into digital panopticons.

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