Biometric health pass standardization races against implementation clock

New app unveiled by Folio, BA trial with Daon technology expands

biometrics phone mask airport

A new COVID-test app with biometric security has been developed, and the trial of another is expanding, but fears of a fragmented landscape are growing among a range of other concerns about how health passes will work.

Laboratory informatics provider CloudLIMS and digital identity company Folio have partnered to develop an integrated biometric mobile wallet to enable individuals to receive, store, and share COVID-19 test results with employers or government authorities.

The Folio Smart Wallet is available for iOS and Android devices from the App Store or Google Play, respectively, and along with CloudLIMS technology provides secure issuance of test results to customer’s smartphones, with security provided by native device biometrics.

The robust cloud solution from CloudLIMS also reduces the complexity of high-scale test result reporting, according to the announcement. Diagnostic laboratories can use the data management and workflow automation capabilities of CloudLIMS to maintain compliance with regulations and standards including HIPAA, CLIA, and ISO 15189:2012.

The integrated solution addresses concerns about lost or misplaced test results, or health information printed out or shared through email, with the Folio app generating a QR code for contactless validation.

British Airways expands trial of app with Daon biometrics

British Airways expanded its trial of Daon’s biometric mobile health app VeriFLY to all international flights arriving in the UK, in response to tightening border controls imposed by the UK government.

BA began using VeriFLY for flights between London at ten U.S. cities weeks ago. The app enables travelers to be fast-tracked through the airport after checking in at specially-designated desks, and protect their health data with mobile device-based biometrics.

The airline has also announced its parent company IAG is working with IATA on its IATA Travel Pass app, which was developed in collaboration with Evernym. The IATA Travel Pass is expected to be launched within weeks.

BA, American Airlines and oneworld are conducting a separate testing trial of some routes between the U.S. and UK.

Royal Society sets 12 criteria

The Royal Society has outlined a dozen challenges for vaccine passports, along with corresponding criteria for their development and use.

Any credentials used to provide proof of vaccination should allow for differences between vaccines, and their effectiveness against COVID-19 variants in particular, and also be internationally standardized, with verifiable credentials and defined uses. They should be secure, interoperable, portable, affordable and legal, meeting ethical non-discrimination standards and with clear and accepted conditions of use, according to the Royal Society.

Any widely adopted system should protect not only health information, but biometric data, The Royal Society says, and the sensitivity of both kinds of data, along with the potential for public backlash, is noted.

As Forbes points out, standardization is likely to come quickly or not at all, with Greece leading a charge among EU nations to stand up an optional system which would allow tourists to bypass various virus control measures by the summer tourism season.

ID2020 announced the formation of a huge initiative to support standardization of robust usability and user control among digital health pass systems earlier this month.

The same article also notes that the biometrics and cloud-based technologies that are needed to back health passes are the same tools as can enable physical passport-free travel, and opportunities for digital identity in general.

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