Digital COVID-19 Immunity Passports enters live testing phase

A London-based Biometric firm launches live testing of COVID-19 passport, with the hopes that it will accelerate returning things back to ‘normal’.

The digital passport, jointly developed by Mvine and iProov, proves immunity status without disclosing the user’s identity.

Given the challenges involved in containing the virus, it is hoped that this approach will help ease restrictions and enable people to safely return to work, school and travel.

Frank Joshi, director at Mvine, said: “Without the need for an extensive new infrastructure, the directors of public health will learn how our innovation is used to promote public health and protect citizen privacy.

“Unlike some other digital solutions for Covid-19, this technology reduces the burden on frontline services and cost-effectively assures a secure and safe way to enable the return to work, return to school and return to the kind of life that people want to lead.”

There are however privacy concerns expressed by some. The privacy charity said there is no scientific basis for digital immunity passports and could be a route to discrimination “particularly if the powers to view these passports falls on people’s employers, or the police”.

The firm does emphasise that the system will not capture or store any identity data and will instead use an “abstract mathematical model of face” that “uses AI to work out a set of numbers which represent them and which cannot be mistaken for anyone else.”

The prototype was funded as part of the UK Government and Innovate UK’s pledge of £40M to support digital innovation in response to the pandemic.