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IPFS News Link • Pandemic

Airlines Test 'Proof-of-Immunity' Technology, Privacy Watchdogs Call It 'Troubling'

• By Jeremy Loffredo

Proponents tout the CommonPass technology as a panacea for global travel in a pandemic world. They hope that a public weary of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions — but still fearful of the virus — will embrace it.

But civil rights and privacy groups warn against any technology that monitors individuals' movements and activities. That includes any digital health pass, like CommonPass, that can be adapted to provide proof of vaccination.

Here's how CommonPass works. An individual takes a COVID-19 test at an approved lab, then uploads the results to a smartphone. At the airport, airline staff and border officials scan a QR code from the phone, which certifies that the passenger is COVID-19 free.

The groups behind CommonPass — Common Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum — say the technology has the potential to create a universal digital platform for COVID-19 testing that, if adopted across all governments, could hasten the reopening of international borders.

As it stands now, each government determines its own rules and procedures for quarantines and border entry. That's unacceptable, according to the World Economic Forum's head of mobility, Christoph Wolff. In a statement, Wolff said: "Individual national responses will not be sufficient to address this global crisis."