Digital ID, Bill Gates vaccine record, and payments system combo to be trialed in Africa

A potential to raise eyebrows for privacy and civil liberty concerns.

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Africa is now becoming the testing ground for a biometric digital identity platform developed in a partnership between Mastercard, Trust Stamp, and Bill Gates’ GAVI Vaccine Alliance. While Trust Stamp provides identification authentication through AI, GAVI is an international organization created by tech mogul Bill Gates for supposedly helping underprivileged children access new as well as “under-used” vaccines.

The digital identity platform was first launched in 2018 and is now going to be implemented in the “remote” and “low-income” communities in West Africa. GAVI and Mastercard have created a digital vaccination record known as “Wellness Pass”. Now the platform will be integrated with this Wellness Pass.

The biometric digital identity platform will have the vaccination records from GAVI, a payment system through Mastercard, and AI-based identity authentication via Trust Stamp. As of now, the whole project has been funded via donor funds to GAVI, which amount to nearly four million dollars, and a similar donation amount from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With the COVID-19 saga in full swing, Trust Stamp’s authentication system is integrated with Wellness Pass. Once the vaccine for coronavirus is made available, it will be integrated into the whole system to keep track of the vaccinations in West Africa. It is worth noting that the whole biometric digital identity platform is launched with a motivation to bolster the markets for vaccines.

Mastercard, which is also in the alliance, says that it is working for fulfilling its vision of a “World Beyond Cash” that it outlined a few years ago.

What’s more, Trust Stamp, the organization providing AI-based authentication, is also looking to commercialize its proprietary technologies.

Mastercard say that Trust Stamp is looking to partner with “correctional systems” to provide authentication services to individuals on parole, without the need for ankle bracelets. What seems to be an effort to improve immunization measures can also be an experiment for fine-tuning the technologies involved before they’re made available for widespread global use.

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