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The Dangers of Blockchain-Enabled “Immunity Passports” for COVID-19

– Berkman Klein Center

This article outlines the arguments against immunity passports from technical, legal, and public health perspectives

The authors argue that the use of immunity passports involving Verifiable Credentials (VCs), decentralized identifiers (DIDs), and blockchain is an unjustified response to the pandemic. They state that there are no specific legal protections around this use of new technology, while even the idea that we can prove immunity is dangerous, as tests have been shown to be unreliable.

“Blockchain-enabled ‘immunity certificates’ or ‘immunity passports’ for COVID-19, if implemented by public authorities, would have serious consequences for our fundamental human rights and civil liberties.”

The authors write that the implications of the technology on our privacy and security has not been scrutinized. Ultimately, blockchain technology has been built for online transactions, and it is misguided to believe it will successfully work with in-person interactions when it has not been tested for this role, and has not been sufficiently tested for security.

We urge law and policymakers to think twice before entertaining such industry-driven, technology-first solutions to complex public health and humanitarian crises

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