Ada Lovelace Institute Proposes Six Checks For Vaccine Passports

by | May 11, 2021

With many countries looking to roll out digital vaccine passports in order to enable a summer tourism season, the Ada Lovelace Institute is warning that they bring profound risks to individual rights and concepts of equity in society.

In a new report the institute explores requirements for both governments and developers to identity the important issues, outstanding questions and tests that any government should consider in weighing whether to permit this type of tool to be used within society.

Carly Kind, Director, Ada Lovelace Institute, said, “the six requirements set in this latest report from the Ada Lovelace Institute provide a series of high thresholds for vaccine passports. Much of the debate to date has focused on a smaller subset of these requirements – in particular technical design and public acceptability. Despite the high thresholds, and given what is at stake and how much is still uncertain about the pathway of the pandemic, it is possible that the case can be made for vaccine passports to become a legitimate tool to manage COVID-19 at a domestic, national scale, as well as supporting safer international travel.”

As evidence, explanation and clarification of a complex policy area, the report supports governments and developers to navigate the necessary challenges prior to deciding whether to adopt and use vaccine passports.

The six proposed requirements are:

  1. Scientific confidence in the impact on public health
  2. Clear, specific and delimited purpose
  3. Ethical consideration and clear legal guidance about permitted and restricted uses, and mechanisms to support rights and redress and tackle illegal use
  4. Sociotechnical system design, including operational infrastructure
  5. Public legitimacy
  6. Protection against future risks and mitigation strategies for global harms.

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