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Covid digital passport “will trust people to trust it,” says ICO

People will need to have “confidence” in the way their data is processed for any digital plan designed to prove their Covid-19 status, the Information Commissioner is expected to say.

IET sites Welcome Your IET account Search E&T Search Toggle navigation Menu E&T logo covid-19 coronavirus contact tracking app NHS UK Digital Covid passport ‘will trust people to trust it’ says ICO By Jack Lough ran Published Wednesday May 5, 2021 People will need to have “confidence” in the way their data is processed for any digital plan designed to prove their Covid-19 status, the Information Commissioner is expected to say.

At the Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference 2021, Elizabeth Denham will say that “the success of any Covid status plan depends on people’s trust” and in particular the way it handles their data. Last month, it emerged that the existing NHS app should be used by vacationers this summer to prove they have been vaccinated or tested for coronavirus.

The European Commission has also announced plans to roll out coronavirus vaccine certificates (“digital green certificates”) across the EU to enable continental travel. The certificates will confirm that the user has had a vaccination, received a negative test result, or has recovered from an infection.

But Denham is ready to say, “There is simply no option today for any organization, private or public sector, to say ‘how we use data is complex, this service is important, so just trust us.’ applies to Covid status certificates as well as social media companies or app developers.

”Even before the launch of the UK’s Covid-19 tracking app last summer, privacy advocates expressed concern about its potential impact. Amnesty International went so far as to warn that the app threatens to open the door to “ubiquitous state surveillance and invasion of privacy.

” In her speech, Denham acknowledged a “growing cynicism” by the general public about the ways in which large companies use their data. “A cynicism of customers who feel that their information is being misused or monetized without their control.

  1. A distrust of government innovations around data, ”she added. “That’s a real concern. The obvious benefits of data-driven innovation, in both the public and private sectors, depend on trust. “