Japan, Estonia and New York State digital health pass plans revealed
Japan is joining the EU, China, and other countries around the world in issuing digital vaccination certificates to inoculated individuals to support their return to previously normal activities, including international travel, Nikkei reports.
The digital health credential, managed by a mobile app, will be in line with international standards, and may be added to an app due for release in April to hold digital certificates for negative test results. The standards will be determined with reference to the EU’s vaccine certificates and the World Economic Forum’s CommonPass.
Vaccination data will also be linked with a government system for tracking its vaccine-delivery program.
Japan’s government says it will proceed cautiously with the digital health passes for domestic travel, and legislators including the country’s health minister have expressed concern over their potential to cause discrimination.
The country so far has been issuing paper certificates as proof of vaccination.
The country is working on agreements about how to use the credential with its neighbours, and will provide vaccination information specified in EU agreements. Estonia’s health pass will also be integrated with the EU’s system when it is launched in June.
Lithuania is planning to release its digital health certificate by the summer, and a report has indicated Latvia’s will also be ready in April. Finland has already begun issuing digital health passes.
New York builds on IBM platform
New York has launched a digital identity-based health credential, Excelsior Pass, which allows people to gather in larger groups and access event venues, according to USA Today.
The app is based on IBM’s digital health pass platform, and uses personal questions (knowledge-based authentication) to verify the passholder’s identity. Vaccination data is populated from the state registry, and pre-approved testing companies. The Excelsior Pass uses QR codes to provide confirmation of status, and records data on a blockchain for privacy protection. Multiple credentials can be held in one app, so a parent could store a child’s certificate.
Vaccination requirements have previously only been applied to schools and hospitals in the U.S., but Ohio State University Dean Amy Fairchild says they could be useful from a public health standpoint, and eventually be expanded to include flu and measles shots if the public will support such a move.
The Vaccine Credential Initiative, which includes Microsoft, the Mayo Clinic, Oracle, Walmart, CVS and Salesforce, is set to issue its standards for vaccine passports next month.
A small beta test of the Excelsior Pass including printed-out passes with QR codes ran successfully with a small number of venues. The system is also expected to evolve over time.
The state plans to provide the Pass for free, and is paying $2.5 million to set it up. Businesses will not be required to use it, but may be able to increase their capacity if they do.
Pangea adds biometric ‘Green Pass’ verification to access control system
Israel’s ‘Green Passes,’ meanwhile, are being spoofed, prompting interest in stronger authentication of the person holding the digital health pass.
The system checks the identity referred to in the QR code of the Green Pass with an organization’s database of employees.
The update enables businesses to screen out fraudulent credentials, after reports that hundreds of counterfeit passes are in use.
“Companies’ managements find it exceedingly difficult to monitor the vaccination status of so many employees on a daily basis, but our new automated system will help managements cope with this challenge and help countries over the globe open up their economies in a safe manner,” states Pangea Executive Vice President Asaf Kaminer.