EU COVID CERTIFICATE AND DATA PROTECTION
Didier Reynders made the following statement on data protection: “Personal data included in the papers cannot be maintained by destination states.” Didier Reynders claimed that there would not be a central database at an EU level for people’ COVID Certificates.
According to the EU, data shall be safeguarded in the following ways:
- No data will link it to the passport or ID card number
- Open-source technology will be prioritised
- It will be protected from cybersecurity risks
- Only essential personal data will be used
Moreover, the pass is verified to prevent fraud and forgery, as is the authenticity of the electronic seals included in the document.
EU COVID PASS TIMELINE
The European Parliament decided to expedite the Digital COVID Certificate through an urgent procedure on March 25, 2021. 16 MEPs did not participate in the vote, which was 468 to 203.
The official unveiling of the European “green pass” took place on April 14. All 27 nations “underlined their commitment to having the framework ready by the summer of 2021,” according to a statement made by national envoys.
The certificate will thereafter become active on July 1 according to an agreement struck between the Parliament and the Council on May 20. On June 14, EU officials released an official statement stating, “The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was agreed with by our institutions in the record time of 62 days.”
The EU Gateway went operational on June 1, 2021, allowing nations to start issuing certifications voluntarily.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate replaced the COVID pass as the accepted format for travel within Europe on July 1, 2021.
Since then, the EU DCC has been a useful instrument for limiting COVID-19, containing the spread, and assisting in epidemic prevention. It is still necessary for travel between several EU nations to remain unrestricted.
DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
A set of recommendations were released by the eHealth network to guarantee the acceptance and compatibility of certificates throughout the European Union.
The following areas are covered by technical specifications:
- Data structure and encoding mechanisms including a QR code for paper and digital versions that can be read in all EU countries.
- EU Gateway — this platform allows the authenticity of certificates to be verified across the EU. Personal information will not go through the gateway, only data required for verification.
- Reference implementations for issuing software, an app to verify certificates, and wallet apps for storage of certificates. Technological infrastructure has been implemented at an EU level and deployed by the individual Member States.
HOW THE EU VACCINE PASSPORT IS HELPING EUROPE’S TRAVEL INDUSTRY
The pandemic has had a damaging impact on EU business travel and tourism. The COVID pass has been a big help in boosting travel.
Compared to other regions of the globe, the EU’s tourist industry rebounded more quickly in the third quarter of 2021. The widespread usage of the EU DCC and other recognised “vaccine passports” has been credited with this result.
In 2021, tourism in Europe was responsible for 10% of the EU’s GDP and 27 million employment.