'We have to be extremely careful about vaccine passports,' rights campaigner warns

24 February 2021, 07:31

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Vaccine Passports have the potential to be extremely discriminatory, invasive of personal privacy, and could be used as an excuse for ID Cards through the backdoor, a digital rights group has warned.

With the news the Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove to lead a review into the use of vaccine passports Nick Ferrari examined the issue.

Jim Killock, the Executive Director of the Open Rights Group spoke to LBC and warned this could be used as an excuse to introduce ID cards by the "backdoor."

While he said it was right that the Government was consulting on the issue, he warned that "we have to be extremely careful about this."

Speaking to Nick Ferrari he warned it could cause a two-tier system with those who could get a vaccine and those who could not.

Mr Killock said: “Vaccine passports have the potential to be extremely discriminatory and invasive of personal privacy. They could be used as an excuse for ID Cards through the backdoor. And the supposed benefits may be limited and temporary.

“It is right that the Government proceed with caution; it must ensure that there is public consultation and that it interrogates the benefits and the downsides. It could be a very concerning path to take.”

Boris Johnson has tasked Michael Gove with leading a review into the possible use of vaccine passports.

Speaking at a school in south London, the Prime Minister told reporters: "This is an area where we're looking at a novelty for our country, we haven't had stuff like this before, we've never thought in terms of having something that you have to show to go to a pub or a theatre.

"There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, and ethical issues about what the role is for Government in mandating or for people to have such a thing or indeed in banning from people doing such a thing.

"We can't be discriminatory against people who for whatever reason people can't have the vaccine, there might be medical reasons why people can't have a vaccine.

"Or some people may generally refuse to have one, I think that's mistaken, I think everybody should have a vaccine but we need to thrash all this out.

"In the interval (during the rollout of the vaccines) what I want to see is a proper review into the issue. That's going to be led by Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who will be getting the best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints on it and will work out a way forward.

"The fervent libertarians will reject but other people will think there's a case for it."