Residents of California now have a new way of “proving they have been inoculated against COVID-19,” a digital tool that the state is still refusing to call a digital “vaccine passport.”
The tool is not an app, not yet at least. It involves visiting this state government website, entering information, then setting a 4-digit PIN after which users will be redirected to a page containing their vaccine information. Users will then be forced to take a screenshot of the QR code containing the information, which can then be presented at venues for scanning.
“It’s really for the purpose of empowering individuals,” Amy Tong, director of the California Department of Technology, unironically said while announcing the tool on Friday.
The state built the tool based on the SMART Health Card Framework, which has been used by private, public, and non-profit organizations to create similar systems. According to the state’s chief technology innovation officer Rick Klau, the tool is secure as it is designed to digitally sign the QR code content, meaning after scanning, the information is matched with the information that the state has provided and the business cannot save or copy the QR code.
During the press conference to announce the tool, the state’s top epidemiologist Erica Pan evaded a question on how the tool is not a vaccine passport, a term Gov. Gavin Newsom has avoided using.