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Immunity Certificates: If We Must Have Them, We Must Do It Right

– ID2020

ID2020 Executive Director, Dakota Gruener, urges policymakers, technology providers, and civil society organizations to collaborate on the implementation of immunity certificates to ensure they protect privacy and civil liberties

Digital health credentials in the form of an immunity certificate, when implemented in conjunction with large-scale testing, are being considered by governments across the globe as a way to stop the coronavirus pandemic. But such systems could compromise personal privacy rights, promote exclusion, as well as potentially exacerbate existing social inequities.

“Proven technologies, grounded in a respect for equity and human rights, can be redeployed to help protect society from a resurgence of the disease and put control of personal health information in the hands of the individual. But this approach must be pursued cautiously, with a full acknowledgment of the risks, and detailed plans to mitigate them.”

Immunity certificates are carried on an individual's mobile phone, which, if robust enough, provides more security than if they were stored on a centralized data system.

Proactive adaptation of existing, purpose-built, privacy-preserving technology, grounded in respect for equity and human rights, offers a means to protect society from a resurgence of the disease, while safeguarding individual privacy and civil liberties. To protect individuals from surveillance, discrimination, fraud, or exclusion, we must ensure that systems developed to serve these purposes are private, secure, and accessible - and are developed using open-source technology and open standards for interoperability and universal access

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