The global state of alarm caused by the coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in many ways. We have all had to modify our routines, even the most deeply rooted, to effectively combat this virus that has caused such an economic impact.
One of the main consequences of COVID-19 has been both global and local mobility reduction. Since the beginning of the pandemic, tighter border controls and limitations have been a must to avoid the expansion of the virus.
With the arrival of the vaccines at the end of last year, we glimpsed the return to normal life, however, maintaining a high level of security is still and will be vital to achieve this. Not only for personal or mental health wellbeing but also for the creation of the required environment for the economy to start recovering or even thinking of potential growth.
In this sense, one of the main levers of economic recovery for specific countries is the possibility of relaunching tourism, undoubtedly one of the most affected economic sectors. It should be remembered that foreign tourism accounts for a large part of GDP in most European countries, such as Spain, where it represents 6%, Croatia, 20%, or Portugal, with 10%.
Having this in mind, a Covid Passport project has been forged within the European community with information on vaccinations received or tests performed by the carrier. But, is this enough? How will we know that the passport corresponds to who it claims to be its rightful owner? Without including additional security measures, could this passport become a safe-conduct for people who are not vaccinated? How are the authorities able to assess the validity of a PCR test performed by a foreign entity or clinic?
A private biometric passport, that includes information on our vaccination, will allow for an efficient and secure way to gradually open borders with the confidence that the virus will not be massively spread again.
Biometric passport: private and irreversible
A biometric passport will provide security and privacy to citizens. It is critical to reinforce security controls while keeping an eye on usability if Europe wants to achieve a great adoption of this new proposal by the general population.
The use of facial biometrics technology should be considered to associate each health passport to a natural person through their biometrics in a completely private way and easily verifiable by the authorities.
Through a simple onboarding process, performed remotely and where all the evidence (selfie, ID & required medical information) is captured, an irreversible biometric vector would be generated and encrypted into a QR code. The credential, like an ID card, will only be in the hands of the patient, and will not need to be stored for verification by the authorities. Instead, verification could be carried out with a mobile device by scanning the QR code and taking a picture of the owner to compare the information.
This process of transforming evidence into a QR code, making sure that individual carrying that ID is who they say they are, will be carried out by cloud-based neural networks, converting all this information into an irreversible mathematical hash.
das-FaceQR is a service offered by Veridas (was patented globally in 2017) that enables the authentication of a person using facial biometrics. The biometric comparison process is performed between a facial image and an abstract representation of the person’s face stored in a private, biometric QR format.
It is worth mentioning that this entire process is certified regarding security and privacy at all levels e.g. through iBeta certification for ISO 30107-3 for advanced liveness detection capability and management system is fully certified under the ISO 27001. This solution has been built under the most strict data privacy requirements.
Health Certificate Process
A biometric-based Covid passport (Private Biometric Passport) would allow maintaining a high level of security while providing privacy to all citizens:
- Facial biometrics technology would allow associating each health passport to a natural person through their biometric data.
- The association would be completely private, secure, and easily verifiable by the authorities.