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I was hesitant to write about whether and how Americans could provide evidence of immunization against coronavirus. It is a political, cultural, ethical and legal minefield. Technology is not the problem.
But if some workplaces, schools, public venues and travel agencies start asking for a “vaccine passport”, then they should do so in ways that protect everyone’s privacy, easy to use, win everyone’s trust and no luck.
Let me tell you about an intriguing proposition from the PathCheck Foundation, a nonprofit in health technology. The central premise is that technology related to our health must be as minimal as possible. That philosophy should be our Arctic Star.
Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor at MIT Media Lab who also founded PathCheck, said this was a problem with some of the early technological approaches to a digital vaccine credential system: They create too many middlemen to access your health records.
In the United States, the states are primarily the places that maintain records of immunized residents. Early attempts to create vaccine credentials, like the Excelsior Pass in New York, essentially created a copy of that state’s databases with information including name, date of birth, and address. , your injection batch number, etc. And that’s what businesses and others visit when they check to see if those entering the door get vaccinated, says Dr. Raskar.
When you add multiple layers of technology to any system, it increases the chances of your sensitive data being leaked out. It is also costly and complex for everyone involved. “It’s completely unnecessary,” Dr. Raskar told me.
The idea of PathCheck is to generate simple software code that anyone – work, school, or airline – can incorporate into the app without having to copy health records.
When you need to show your vaccination credentials, the one-time code transmits two pieces of information: your identity and you have been vaccinated. Yes, there’s still a middleman, but the difference is that apps will do as little as possible to access your sensitive information. Relevant data is more directly communicated between your phone and state health records. You may also need to show your ID.
He compared the offer to paying for a sandwich with cash instead of a credit card. No complicated paperwork is required to purchase a lunch. The metaphor is not perfect, but it is helpful.
Several organizations that advertise immunization credentials, including IBM and airport screening company Clear, are offering a similar ad that their technology is as minimal as possible.
They often don’t, says Dr. Raskar, because tech companies, states and others have been trying to put a lot of intelligence into the matter. If you hear the word “blockchain” with the vaccine credentials, know that something went wrong. The risk is that we get technology complex, potentially incompatible for people to provide proof of vaccination.
What we really need is stupid technology doing as little as possible and knowing as little about us as possible. “How can we make it simple, straightforward, as opposed to what tech companies are doing, which is more?” Dr. Raskar said.
PathCheck is just one of many companies and nonprofits that are developing anti-fraud vaccination credentials. It will be difficult to understand for a while as these technologies are evaluated and tested.
But PathCheck deserves credit for turning the vaccination credentials approach to the head. Technology is less and dumber is usually the best.
- On April 13, 2021, US health authorities called for an immediate halt on Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine use after six recipients in the United States suffered from a disorder. have rarely been associated with blood clots within one to three weeks of vaccination.
- All 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico suspends or the suppliers recommend suspending the use of the vaccine. The US Army, federally run vaccination sites and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix, also suspended vaccinations.
- Less than one in a million Johnson & Johnson vaccination cases are currently under investigation. If there is actually a risk of a blood clot from a vaccine – which has yet to be determined – then it is extremely low. The risk of Covid-19 infection in the United States is much higher.
- The suspension could complicate the nation’s immunization efforts at a time when many states are facing an increase in new cases and seeking to resolve vaccine hesitancy.
- Johnson & Johnson also decided to delay its vaccine rollout in Europe amid concerns about rare blood clots, but then decided to resume its campaign after the agency. The European Union’s pharmaceutical administration says warning labels should be added. South Africa, devastated by a more contagious variant of the virus that appeared there, has suspended its vaccine use and Australia has announced it will not buy any doses.
To know more about this:
Before we go …
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