Talk about a political football, oh my.
Florida has passed a law outlawing them. Not sure that Florida is a bastion of privacy – just wants to stick it to certain folks.
But, if some other state or other company requires it, the law is meaningless. Lets say, just making something up, that New York requires a vaccine passport to enter. Joe gets on a plane in Florida and when he arrives in New York, they say “Passport please”. Joe doesn’t have one and complains that Florida law makes that illegal. Joe now gets to get back on the plane and return to Florida. Foreign countries are unlikely to be moved by such a law in Florida.
But some lawyers are saying that even in Florida, such a law may be unenforceable – kind of an illegal law. I guess we have to wait for the courts to decide that one.
But one company has decided to capitalize on this.
CLEAR, the company that runs the fast lane at airports for folks that pay hundreds of dollars a year to go to the front of the line, has created a vaccine passport app. I don’t *think* there is a cost to the user for this one. That probably would not be popular. Businesses, on the other hand, are likely fair game.
Currently 60 stadiums and venues are deploying the CLEAR app, including the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. You can use paper proof, but the motivation is that CLEAR is faster.
It seems likely that CLEAR will store your data, probably including every time you use the app.
Privacy advocates are rightfully concerned about this.
United Airlines is already using the app in their LA to Hawaii flights since Hawaii has requirements for vaccines and/or negative tests.
Excelsior pass is New York’s version of CLEAR. Built by IBM and only for New York residents, it is another competitor in what is going to be a crowded field.
Several European countries have built apps for access to transportation, gyms and even restaurants.
To use the CLEAR app, you take a picture of your drivers license and upload it with a selfie. They then connect to hundreds of labs to look for results. Not sure what happens if your name is not in one of those databases.
I am sure that these apps are unhackable. That is certainly a valid concern, depending on how much data they keep.
This battle is far from over. It is not clear how it is going to turn out. On the other hand, you might be right, but still get your butt shoved back in an airplane seat to go home — at your cost — instead of starting your vacation, so you do have to consider whether that is a battle that you are willing to fight.
Also remember that getting in the face of airline personnel, border agents and police can get you thrown into jail, particularly in some foreign countries, but even in the U.S. This week an airline passenger on a Miami to New York flight had to be zip-tied by an off-duty copy after she assaulted a flight crew member. The passenger said that the cops weren’t going to do anything, just before they zip-tied her into her seat. She was arrested when the plane landed in New York and is being charged with several felonies. Credit: Yahoo