Ever feel like the world is going at the speed of sound straight into the plot of a SyFy novel?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is actively taking steps to “facilitate” its 194 member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates by working with T-Systems to develop QR codes containing the owner’s privileged health status.
The WHO chose T-Systems to develop the vaccination validation services by setting up a “gateway” to standardize the issuing of QR codes that confer privileged health status to their owner,
The WHO says that the move will make it easier for its member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates in the future.
Vaccination certificates can be used across national borders. It is intended to serve as a standard procedure for other vaccinations such as polio or yellow fever after COVID-19.
Garrett Mehl, Unit Head, WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation, said, “COVID-19 affects everyone. Countries will therefore only emerge from the pandemic together. Vaccination certificates that are tamper-proof and digitally verifiable build trust. WHO is therefore supporting member states in building national and regional trust networks and verification technology. The WHO’s gateway service also serves as a bridge between regional systems. It can also be used as part of future vaccination campaigns and home-based records.”
Adel Al-Saleh, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management and CEO T-Systems, explained, “Corona has a grip on the world. Digitization keeps the world running. Digital vaccination certificates like the EU’s are key to this. We are pleased to be able to support the WHO in the fight against the pandemic. Health is a strategic growth area for T-Systems. Winning this contract underscores our commitment to the industry.”
WHO and T-Systems say they are focusing on transparency and data protection when building the gateway. The ongoing work on the software is public on the developer platform Github. All program codes can be viewed by the expert community there. Furthermore, the gateway complies to the strict privacy law of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation.
T-Systems has already developed the EU gateway for vaccination certificates (DCC, Digital Covid Certificate), and more than 60 countries currently use it.
T-Systems had previously set up the European Federation Gateway Service (EFGS) to ensure that member states’ corona tracing apps work across borders.
So will you soon be required to use a digital health passport? The answer is complicated and depends on what country you live in.
The development and implementation of such technology is alarming to privacy advocates.
“COVID-19 affects everyone,” asserted Gerrett Mehl, Unit Head, WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation. “Countries will therefore only emerge from the pandemic together. Vaccination certificates that are tamper-proof and digitally verifiable build trust. WHO is therefore supporting member states in building national and regional trust networks and verification technology. The WHO’s gateway service also serves as a bridge between regional systems. It can also be used as part of future vaccination campaigns and home-based records.”
A system like this could easily be adapted to other international travel conditions, thus facilitating a global social credit system.
The development is alarming, and one should consider the implications for any future implementations.
This slope is definitely a slippery one.
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