The European Commission’s plan to introduce a Digital Green Pass for EU citizens threatens fundamental rights in several respects. While the European Pirates in the Greens/EFA Group support measures that aim at restoring the freedom of movement, they need to be proportionate. The current vision for a legislative proposal on 17 March does not seem to reflect privacy standards and risks further social division and discrimination.
For the European Pirates Delegation in the European Parliament, the Commission’s concept of a digital vaccination passport, which is supposed to ensure free traveling by collecting medical records of EU citizens, is flawed at many levels. In order to guarantee freedom of movement as well as protect data privacy rights, Pirate MEPs suggest a solution based on paper, with the optional addition of digital certificates solely stored on personal decentralised devices such as mobile phones.
“The European Pirates stand in full support of vaccination. However, we recognize that not everyone will have the chance to get vaccinated. The Commission has to guarantee that its proposal will not increase discrimination and social division within the bloc. Therefore, a PCR test before traveling shall be equivalent to vaccination. Additionally, the digital format of the passport raises serious privacy concerns, as highly sensitive medical records would need to be accessed,” Marcel Kolaja, Pirate MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament commented.
According to Patrick Breyer, German Pirate MEP, the EU proposal would create electronic national centralized vaccination registers. These could too easily be used for other purposes or hacked.
Scientific studies have already warned against using sensitive medical data as well as limiting freedom of movement, one of the founding principles of the EU. In addition, the Regional Director for Europe at the World Health Organization (WHO) recently expressed concerns over vaccination passports, pointing out that due to lack of data, vaccines have not been proven to prevent transmission of the Covid-19 virus yet.