• Are non-profit vaccine passports the key to preserving privacy?

    Digital vaccine passports that can be managed on a mobile app are a popular choice not just for travel, but increasingly for work and entry to bars, cinemas and other social activities.

    But rights experts say they exclude marginalised groups, and raise risks of greater surveillance and loss of privacy.

    Amid the rash of big technology companies including IBM, Oracle and Microsoft that are developing digital passports, is a handful of non-profits who say their vaccine passes can preserve privacy and are more inclusive.

    “Not every tech solution should be controlled by big tech,” said Jennifer Zhu Scott, executive chairman of The Commons Project, a non-profit that has partnered with the World Economic Forum to develop a mobile app to show vaccine status.

    “We can take this global crisis and make data ownership more inclusive if we can provide privacy-preserving solutions for people. Those are the best technologies that we can put into someone’s hands,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Vaccine passports have been around in some form for a while, from certificates for smallpox vaccinations in the 1800s to evidence of shots for diphtheria and whooping cough, and the “yellow card” for proof of inoculation against yellow fever.

    These were generally paper certificates stamped by doctors. Vaccine passports for COVID-19 are often mobile apps that contain more personal details of the individual, their vaccination status and vaccine dosage.

    The Commons Project’s CommonPass, which is free to download, allows individuals to access their lab result and vaccination record, and requires their consent to have that information validate their COVID-19 status without revealing any other underlying health information at the same time.

    Several airlines including Lufthansa, Qantas and Cathay Pacific are using or testing CommonPass. The Commons Project is also talking to dozens of governments, said Scott.

    “Perhaps at the end of the pandemic, we can look back and say: we returned some of the data ownership to individuals,” she said.

    “Since national and international inequities in access to vaccines are occurring along racial and economic lines, vaccine passports are poised to be a marker of privilege of vaccination, rather than a simple signifier of immunity,” she said.

    In addition, vulnerable groups like undocumented people may be unable to use vaccine passports even if they are vaccinated, “for fear of their movements being logged or tracked,” she said.

    “The underlying problem presented by vaccine passports - dictating entry into private and public space - remains,” she said.

    “Put simply, if we want vaccine passports to be equitable, we must vaccinate equitably.”

    #Passeport_vaccinal #Vie_privée

  • EU urged to ban AI tools that detect gender, sexuality

    Draft EU rules include curbs on AI technology like facial recognition, but not on systems that detect gender, sexuality, race or disability April 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A cross-party group of European lawmakers called on Friday for an EU ban on artificial intelligence (AI) systems that detect and label people according to gender or sexuality, saying the technology was ripe for abuse and could fuel discrimination. Draft rules set to be announced by the European Commission next (...)

    #vidéo-surveillance #sexisme #biométrie #algorithme #CCTV #reconnaissance #facial #discrimination #LGBT #surveillance #AccessNow (...)


  • Amazon AI van cameras spark surveillance concerns

    Amazon is rolling out AI-enabled surveillance cameras in its delivery vans Drivers and privacy advocates say the company is building a massive mobile surveillance system Although the system is billed to improve driver safety, some worry it is more about exerting control By Avi Asher-Schapiro BERLIN, Feb 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Amazon.com Inc’s announcement this week that it would be rolling out AI-powered cameras in its branded delivery vans for safety has drawn criticism (...)


  • With social media, Zimbabwean youth fight pandemic ’infodemic’

    JOHANNESBURG/BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, July 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Drinking alcohol will kill the coronavirus. It is OK to share face masks. Africans cannot get COVID-19. The pandemic is not even real.

    These are some of the coronavirus myths that a team of 20 Zimbabwean youth have been busting online since the country’s lockdown began in late March, using social media and radio shows to reach an estimated 100,000 people to date.

    “There is a common saying that ’ignorance is bliss’. Well, in this instance, ignorance is not bliss, if anything ignorance is death,” said Bridget Mutsinze, 25, a volunteer based in the capital, Harare.

    Although relatively low compared to the rest of the continent, Zimbabwe is experiencing an uptick in the number of coronavirus infections, with more than 1,800 cases and at least 26 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    To stem the spread of the disease, Zimbabwean youth working with development charity Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) have taken to Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and radio to comb through online comments, identify and correct COVID-19 misinformation.

    The spread of coronavirus misinformation has been a global issue, with the World Health Organization describing it as an “infodemic”.

    While tech giants WhatsApp and Facebook have teamed up with African governments to tackle fake news through interactive bots, adverts and push notifications, VSO volunteers are leading the battle within their communities.

    Across the continent, 86% of Africans aged 18-24 own a smartphone and nearly 90% use it for social media, according to a survey by the South African-based Ichikowitz Family Foundation.

    VSO volunteers are tapping into the informal conversations taking place on these platforms.

    “If we do not get facts out there, people will continue to live as they wish and the number of people who get the virus will continue to spread,” Mutsinze told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    #Désinformation #Fake_News #COVID-19 #Zimbabwe