According to the New York Times in the near future, travel may require digital documentation showing that passengers have been vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus. One of President Biden’s executive orders aimed at curbing the pandemic asks government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of linking coronavirus vaccine certificates with other vaccination documents, and producing digital versions of them.
The race is on to create a document or app that is accepted around the world, that protects privacy and is accessible to people regardless of their wealth or access to smartphones.
Here's a counterpoint, especially for posts that include contempt for any skepticism of these types of solutions.
Pretty much anything can be done from a technical point of view. The point everyone seems to miss (especially techies) is that the execution will be a violation of, or an encroachment on, human rights. Here's a link to refresh your memories: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Beyond that, it's irrational (and tyrannical) to believe it's OK to mandate the use of a product, that no company is willing to sell unless they are freed from being held legally accountable for it. This is the state of affairs today.
The UN estimates hundreds of thousands of children have died from malnutrition because of the downturn in the global economy caused by the lock-down in the west. Because us rich kids want to feel safe. I agree with Elon Musk; we're irrational, spoiled, cowards. And we have proved to be careless when we feel a little at risk. We are not helping the weak at all.
@sventester I certainly see your point. But if the mandate comes from the various countries, stating you can enter a country without going through mandatory quarantine for 2 weeks or more, it is highly likely that people will adopt such a Vaccine Passport. This is rather like Australia deciding to throw out all Kiwi's who were born in New Zealand with a criminal record, despite the fact they have lived the majority of their lives in Australia - which is happening right now.
The mandate may come from each and every country to protect their borders, and they definitely need a means of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the individual has adhered to those conditions similar to a normal passport except is for health reasons. Plus remember some countries have conditions on entry existing now like proving that the individual has had "yellow fever", inoculation etc. These are accepted conditions, and applied by the laws and acts of that particular country. However, this pandemic, and its variations may carry on for a lot longer, and countries are entitled to protect their borders and have the right to refuse entry on many grounds.
It is bad risk management
I compare this with some companies' chase for closing "low" vulnerabilities in their intranet web applications. The mitigation strategies are completely out of proportion to the risk at hand. Professionals at risk management go along with this, without appreciating the numbers.
I am very much in favor of countries protecting their borders, but they should do so for reasons their people own agree with, and without putting their own people at higher risk (i.e mandating their own people take experimental vaccines). Or God forbid that wars will break out because of this.
This is where the politicization of the problem makes people lose perspective, and forget common sense risk management. Yellow fever, measles, HIV, are incomparable to COVID19 in their lethality. You cannot argue the "impact" of COVID19 is medium or high, we know it is "low". And the "likelihood" is probably "medium", just like the normal flu. So you end up with a situation where the whole world stagnates because one of the risks they face is a "low-medium". If I had stopped progress in a company because of a medium risk vulnerability I'd get fired the moment upper management figured out.
Plus remember some countries have conditions on entry existing now like proving that the individual has had "yellow fever", inoculation etc.
All that has been required for Yellow Fever is a yellow vaccination card. See picture. I suspect that a similar card will be used for Covid, and all the hubbub about digital programs, etc. is all for naught.
It is bad risk management
You cannot argue the "impact" of COVID19 is medium or high, we know it is "low". And the "likelihood" is probably "medium", ... If I had stopped progress in a company because of a medium risk vulnerability I'd get fired the moment upper management figured out.
I suspect this is an area where we will have to agree to disagree that our risk acceptance analysis/methodology differs. H/M/L only works well if the ARO and SLE fall within "normal" buckets. This often falls apart when the "impact" is death as it tends to pin the needle at H and (as you noted) result in emotional analysis. Much more effective is to evaluate with a "cost to mitigate risk" approach.
Today's ARO for Covid deaths is 1:700 in the US, which has to be balanced against a SLE in the millions if one were to lose a wrongful-death lawsuit. Putting these together, it is pretty easy to justify spending hundreds of dollars per employee on sneeze guards, face masks, thermal scanners, work-from-home, etc. The primary goal, of course, is to mitigate the likelihood of wrongful-death lawsuits being filed and the secondary goal is to lessen the impact caused by the addition of a "gross negligence" specification in cases where "reasonable precautions" can not be demonstrated.
Justification gets even easier if one starts to consider the impact of OSHA shutdown or staffing shortages due to quarantine.
If we think of this in terms of a scenario where the liability is clearly on the employer, I can guarantee you that my company would neither "accept" nor "transfer" a 1:700 ARO for fatal industrial accidents. This is clearly demonstrated by our spending millions per year in safety initiatives to mitigate the risk of industrial accidents.
I like your point, and it's relevant in its own context. It's still a straw man argument in this context.
I agree with you from a corporate standpoint; vaccines certainly reduces the company's liability. If a corporation mandates it, and someone doesn't want to take the vaccine, they can quit that company. But if you have family in a different country, you cannot just 'quit' having a family.
Mandating "all people" do "something", or you take away rights, is a slippery slope. I'm pointing out freedom of movement specifically, but there are obviously other concerns.
Beyond that; this discussion, for me, is about clarity in risk management, ethics, and being able to see beyond the horizon in terms of "what comes next", or "what other risks are introduced". And my opinion is that there is little clarity here. It's very interesting from a professional point of view, as well as looking at other points in history when this exact same thing happened, and we gladly complied - out of fear (I recognize this is my opinion).
This discussion could just as well have been about government spying on people, where I also think there's lack of clarity on the matter. People find all kinds of reasons to justify that also. And fear of something seems to be a common denominator.
@sventester Thanks for your comments, I was a little busy too respond until now:
Discrimination is a major issue, but when you see the number of passport being developed and tested:
Obviously, there are a lot of people and organisations, who want the old way of working returned as fast as possible. The Greenies may not like this, as they are still awaiting for the electric commercial aeroplanes to be developed, to waste Jet fuel being sprayed from aloft on to earth and the sea etc.
It is going to be a hard battle to convince everyone.
+1 I think that there is likely to be a number of process to verify vaccinations through paper trail before everyone agrees on a digital passport, or more accurately a common online vaccination validation service, as long as it’s ‘bound’ to the persons passport/ identification it should do the trick.
Pre, post and during flight testing seems to be working at current scale and while inconvenient it’s basically comparable to the effort for getting proper visas.
the quarantine period is quite restrictive for those few still traveling.
OK, didn't I tell you there were going to be problems with jurisdiction?
China is opening up to visitors!
As long as you have a Chinese vaccine ...