Scotland’s disastrous Covid vaccine passport scheme continues to create more problems than it is solving; the latest revelation about the poor quality of the app being that it is sharing citizens’ personal data with a host of companies.
The list reads like a warning of who personal data should never be shared with, particularly not the sensitive medical kind available to this type of app.
Amazon, Microsoft, NetCompany, Service Now, Jumio, Albasoft, CFH Docmail, and iProov, a facial recognition company, as well as Gov.uk Notify Service and Royal Mail all have access to the data shared by the national health service, NHS, app, the Sunday Mail said.
The newspaper reported that this information was contained in the app’s privacy section, where it is also stated that data is shared with said private companies and government entities, although somehow, “not all of them can access it,” the app’s creators claim.
The news has been received with consternation by civil rights advocates, as well as the opposition, who are against the scheme in general and accuse the government of splitting society into two-tiers of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
In addition, said Liberty group’s head of policy Sam Grant, the plan is coercive since it conditions access to certain venues and events on vaccination status, and now it is leaving people unable to control their own data collected for the purpose of creating Covid passports, as well as in the dark about it being shared with third parties.
Grant said it was “extremely concerning” that the NHS app’s users not only don’t have the option to opt out but are unaware this was happening.
According to him, the revelation further undermines the credibility of vaccine passports, while his organization advocates for “reasonable and proportionate measures to combat Covid” – but that “vaccine passports are not a solution.”
Opposition Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said that their warnings about extremely poor data protection in the app have fallen on deaf government ears, mentioning all the problems the scheme has encountered so far, including a chaotic launch and missing security features.
“Everyone has the right to medical privacy, nobody should ever have to provide part of their medical history to a bouncer or a series of private companies. That is just simply absurd,” said Cole-Hamilton.
The Scottish Conservatives also criticized the data sharing as “extremely worrying.”
“This will only serve to further erode public trust in the SNP’s shambolic vaccine passport scheme,” said the party’s Murdo Fraser.