British cyber technology company VST Enterprises (VSTE) has launched a public ‘fit to fly’ health passport designed for air travel.
The cross-border platform called V-Health Passport can be downloaded and used alongside any form of COVID-19 testing and vaccination that does not use unsecure bar codes and QR code technology. Airlines and transport carriers can also download and use the system.
It aims to validate a passenger’s identity and authenticate their COVID-19 test result and vaccination details in one app. It also provides airline passengers and airlines with a contact tracing technology which uses anonymised data.
VSTE says the passport uses closed loop technology with end-to-end encryption and has “2.2 quintillion collision free combination codes”, which decode based on geo location, time and date, device type and user login to prevent hacking.
WHY IT MATTERS
It comes at a time when security over the use of bar codes and QR codes in airline travel has come under scrutiny. Concerns have been raised about ‘attagging’, when QR codes can are cloned and redirected to other information points or websites by hackers.
Wider threats about the validity of COVID-19 test certificates have also been raised with reports of fake certificates being sold.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Health passports are already being used for access to public spaces and transport in some countries such as China and India. According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, which predictively tracks emerging technologies, health passports are “taking the fast track through the Hype Cycle and have high impact.”
In September, a leaked memo revealed that digital immunity passports are to form part of the UK government’s plans to allow people who have tested negative for the virus to return to work and be able to travel. According to the BMJ, the Operation Moonshot programme aims to carry out up to 10 million COVID-19 tests a day by next year as part of a £100 billion expansion of the testing programme.
The V-Health Passport was recently investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after a complaint that a video showing its ambassador Zara Tindell taking a BioSure rapid test presented a misleading view of antibody testing. The complaint was dismissed on grounds that the technology did not fall under the remit of a medical device and referred to the Advertising Standards Authority.
ON THE RECORD
VSTE CEO and inventor of the VCode technology and V-Health Passport, Louis-James Davis said: “We are the first technology company in the world to have developed a secure, multipurpose, cross corporate and cross government digital health passport that does not rely on using bar codes or QR codes as its authentication technology. Both bar codes and QR codes have huge potential security implications as they can be cloned and hacked with the latter being subject to a process called attagging.”