‘New Normal’: Vaccine Passports Could be ‘Redeployed’ as National ID Cards in the UK

Anti-Vaccine and anti-lockdown protestors march through central London, on June 26, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom could follow the lead of the European Union and Communist China in implementing a digital ID out of a “redeployed” vaccine passport, a firm developing a health pass for the government has said.

Civil rights campaigners have warned that “mission creep” could result in the UK using a vaccine passport as a pseudo national ID card after an American IT company contracted by the British government to develop a “Covid Certification” pass suggested that the health passes could become part of the “new normal”.

Entrust, which describes itself as a “global leader in identities, payments, and data protection”, was given £250,000 by the UK in May to develop cloud software for the government’s Covid-status certification scheme run by NHSX — the digital arm of the nation’s socialised healthcare system.

In a February blog post, the product marketing director for the firm, Jenn Markey said that “vaccine credentials can become part of the infrastructure of the new normal”.

“With the infrastructure and investment necessary to ensure a viable vaccine passport, why not redeploy this effort into a national citizen ID program that can be used for multiple purposes, including the secure delivery of government services, secure cross-border travel, and documentation of vaccination,” she suggested.

The civil liberties campaigning group Big Brother Watch warned that the proclamations from Entrust — which has previously developed digital identification systems for Ghana, Albania, and Malaysia — represents the “mission creep” inherent in the health papers push from the government.

On Wednesday, Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo told The Telegraph: “This is a giant leap towards ID cards,” adding that if the “government goes ahead with mandated Covid passes it is likely we will look to bring legal challenges.”

Former Brexit Secretary and civil rights advocate David Davis told the paper that the implementation of vaccine passports domestically is an “intrusive” and “very bad idea” which he noted is “completely out of the tradition of Britain”.

Davis noted that there were 9,000 data leaks of government records last year alone, saying: “There are very serious civil liberties issues, serious issues of practicality, and serious issues of discrimination.”

Identity cards are spreading abroad, too. In June, the European Union announced that as a part of its post-pandemic “transition” the EU Commission would seek to introduce a bloc-wide “digital identity” app that would contain passport, driving licence, credit card and other personal information.

Comparisons have also been made to China’s social credit system, which has been used by the regime in Beijing to discriminate against people who fail to uphold the values of the Communist Party. The score, which measures seemingly mundane activities, awarding positive points for buying things like diapers and subtractions for buying alcohol, has seen tens of millions of citizens barred from travelling because their score was too low.

Speaking to Breitbart London in March, the CEO of the online privacy firm DeleteMe, Rob Shavell warned that with the introduction of vaccine passports, Western countries like the UK could implement a “sneaky capitalist” version of the Chinese credit score.

Mr Shavell said that the mass collection of healthcare data could lead to “algorithmic discrimination” in which “decisions are being made without our knowledge just because it was easy to sort and categories us as late to the vaccine, early to the vaccine, non-vaccinated… all of this information becomes easy to compare and sort against.”

Indeed, while the British government has so far refrained from mandating vaccine passports under law, it has publicly called on private businesses to enforce their own form of coronavirus restrictions, including the use of health passes such as the digital NHS app in places like nightclubs.

Some businesses in the UK, such as Pimlico Plumbers, have already openly declared that they will require employees to be vaccinated.

Ironically, the United Kingdom has already seen off an attempt to impose mandatory ID cards by the government, with a broadly supported campaign group seeing off the last Labour government’s attempts in the early 2000s. It was the Conservative Party that finally killed off the national identity database for good in 2010, but which now apparently shepherding in an identity state by the back door.

The campaign was supported by many top political figures of the time, including then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson who famously declared that he would “eat” his ID card mashed up with his cornflakes.

The government denied that the vaccine passport will be used as a national ID card, with a spokesman saying: “The NHS COVID Pass allows an individual to demonstrate COVID status. It is not a form of national ID card and it never will be.

“The Covid Status Certification review, published last week, concluded that there was a public health benefit to using the NHS Covid pass.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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