Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am a Public Interest Advocate. I have extensive training, clinical and professional practice experience supporting individuals in exercising their civil and human rights to Informed Consent, and accessing social justice in health care settings in B.C.
In this article I present the following information:
- Definitions of Biometric Identification (ID)
- BC’s Biometric ID: The BC Vaccine Card, aka “Proof of Vaccination” App & QR Code
- Bioethical, Socio-Economic, and Social Justice Analysis
- How BC’s Biometric ID Will Work
- Places the vaccine card will be required for entry in BC
- Cybersecurity Threats from Biometric ID, Vaccine Apps and Potential Risk Mitigation Strategies (including some tips for parents to decrease potential risks and threats to their kids)
On August 23rd, 2021, the BC government announced they were moving forward with their plan to implement a Biometric identification (ID) and social credit system in B.C. that is tied to peoples’ COVID-19 vaccine status. This is euphemistically being referred to as, “Proof of Vaccination” (POV) and the “BC Vaccine Card.” These terms are code for Biometric ID.
This creates a convergence, or fusion, of ones’ biological, digital, and physiological identity, vaccination and social status. Vaccine passports create social credit, or status, based on ones’ vaccination status. BC’s system is building upon, and adopting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government’s vaccine status and social credit systems of state control, coercion, and surveillance tied to biometric data and ID. Under the BCNDP government, the ability to participate in BC society will rely upon whether one is up-to-date with what the state tells citizens is their vaccination status. This formalizes governmental, institutional, and state definitions of who is considered an “insider,” “desirable,” or “worthy person,” and who must be considered an “outsider,” an “undesirable” or “unworthy” person in BC.
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health under the BCNDP, and Justin Trudeau, former Prime Minister with the federal Liberal Party, have both advised citizens that boosters are already being considered. This is because there is already statistical data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Canadian governments (as well as others’) that COVID-19 vaccines do not work as intended for specific populations, such as the elderly, and those with immune-suppression.
There are also strong indicators the vaccines wane within several months. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “booster shots” have no scientific data to support them. However, some nations, most notably Israel, have already been administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccines. They are also already considering administering four doses in the first year that these experimental vaccines have been administered around the world.
Trudeau has publicly stated he has ordered “booster” doses, or “second generation” vaccines up to 2024. People will be required to take the state-sponsored and required number of vaccines, which will change over time. If they do not take them, their status in their passport/Biometric ID will show they are “unvaccinated.” Their social credit and status will change. They will be socially and physically banned and excluded from all of the settings the B.C. government has decided will require this proof. That list will grow as the months go by.
What is Biometric Identification (ID)
- Biometrics is defined as: the measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics (such as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity (Merriam-Webster).
- Biometrics are physical or behavioral human characteristics to that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data (Korolov, 2019).
- Biometric identification (ID): Biometric identification consists of determining the identity of a person. The aim is to capture an item of biometric data from this person. It can be a photo of their face, a record of their voice, or an image of their fingerprint (Thales, 2021).
- Biometric ID now includes COVID-19 vaccination status. Over time, this information will potentially increase to include other biomedical personal information, which will confer social status and credit, and the ability to access services, and participate in ones’ community.
Proof of Vaccination ID & Biometric Vaccination Status in the BC Vaccine Card
BC Biometric ID: “Proof of Vaccination” App & QR Code
BC Government: “Starting September 13, you need proof of vaccination to access some events, services and businesses. The easiest way to show proof is using the BC Vaccine Card.”
Bioethical, Socio-Economic, and Social Justice Analysis
- Social Exclusion, Marginalization and Barriers to Participating in Society: Many individuals and classes of people will be banned and further marginalized from participating in society through the BC government’s implementation of their social credit system. The BCNDP government is increasing barriers, creating institutional barriers, and excluding more and more people who they have decided are “unworthy” of being included in their communities, and BC society. This includes: poor and soci-economically disadvantaged people; people who have no PHN, no smartphones, and no access to the internet. People with inaccurate, or wrong ID. Seniors who may not know how to use technology, or how to navigate complex systems to access their biometric ID. People with disabilities and health conditions which prevent them from getting COVID-19 vaccines, and people who object to getting these vaccines for religious reasons, or conscientious objections will all be considered to have no social status in BC.
- No “Do Over” – If/once you choose to download the BC Vaccine passport you will never again have autonomy, freedom, or liberty, or self-determination over your personal or health sovereignty. The state will own you, your biometric data, & your body forever. The state will also decide what health interventions you will be required to have in the future to maintain your social credit and status in BC (and later, in Canada). Once you give your own personal and health sovereignty, bodily autonomy and integrity away you will remain enslaved for the rest of your life, or you will become a non-status person.
- In the case of COVID-19 vaccines: If you do not keep getting boosters when your COVID-19 vaccine has “expired” you will no longer have social status, or “social credit.” You will be considered “unvaccinated.” This means you will be banned from accessing the settings the province has decided you will be excluded from. This list will grow over time. They’re rolling out all of the plans incrementally.
- There are NO EXEMPTIONS: This includes no exemptions even if you/a loved one has medical, or religious reasons for not receiving a vaccine (now it’s just COVID-19 ones, but new vaccines will roll out later that you will be required to take). This means if you had 1 dose and had a bad reaction, and can’t get a second dose (or third, fourth, fifth…), you will be considered unvaccinated and banned from participating in society.
BC Definition of “Unvaccinated”: “No dose or <3 weeks since receipt of 1st dose.”
How BC’s Biometric ID Will Work
- Downloading the App: To download the app you need your Personal Health Number (PHN); your date of birth; and the date of your 1st or 2nd vaccine dose. If you do not have a PHN, or smartphone, obviously you will be unable to use this app.
- After inputting your biometric data: You will receive a BC vaccine card with a QR code that shows how many doses of the vaccine you’ve received.
- You will need to show your QR code—either digital or paper—along with photo ID before entering specific events and settings.
- Businesses will use a phone app to verify customers’ vaccination statuses. This means BC businesses and other settings will now be collecting customers’ Biometric & personal health information. Details about how, where, and what country/ies this data and information will be stored in, and whether third parties can access this data, and share it are not known at this time.
- Permissions and Informed Consent: If you are going to download the BC Biometric app, ensure you have carefully read the Permissions and Consents that are required. These should tell you how, where, what country and whether third party access to your biometric and personal health information will be used. Permissions should also tell you if third parties can also share your personal health/biometric data, and for what purposes.
- Exempted businesses and settings: Settings that have been designated as “Essential; “Fast food” restaurants, food courts, drive-thrus, and cafeterias are not included in the program.
Cybersecurity Threats from Biometric ID, Vaccine Apps and Potential Risk Mitigation Strategies
- IT Security and privacy experts have already reported that COVID-related apps are highly targeted for hacking and cybersecurity breaches by cyber-criminals. This is because the information contained in these apps is probably enough to steal a person’s identity and commit other crimes in their name, specifically financial crimes.
- Protecting Your Biometric Data and Personal Information: Consider getting an IT security assessment of your phone, and existing permissions from other apps and the phone manufacturer.
- Additional Cybersecurity On Your Phone: Consider getting expert advice about adding additional layers of cybersecurity on your smartphone if you plan to download the app. Biometric ID and apps likely come with ongoing and chronic cybersecurity risks for you, and your personal health and biometric data.
- Unknown Risks and Threats to Children & Youth: Because all of this is being implemented so quickly, with many parts unknown, and so many kids have smartphones, it is unclear to me what steps parents will be able to take to protect and decrease risks and threats from predators and cyber-criminals who will try to access the biometric and personal health information of their kids.
- Suggestions for Parents: Not allow their kids to download the Biometric ID’s onto their phones until more is known about the risks and threats. Ensure that parents are present and aware of the permissions and consents if the app is downloaded. Try to do an IT cybersecurity assessment and install cybersecurity protections on their kids’ phones.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, March 31, 2020
Places your vaccine card is required for entry in BC
By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), proof of vaccination is required to access some events, services and businesses. Starting September 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated. The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022 and could be extended.
The requirement applies to all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+) and covers:
- Indoor ticketed sporting events
- Indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events
- Licensed restaurants and restaurants that offer table service (indoor and patio dining)
- Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and patio dining)
- Nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres
- Gyms, exercise facilities/studios, pools and recreation facilities
- Businesses offering indoor group exercise
- Indoor adult group and team sports for people 22 years old or older
- Indoor organized events with 50 or more people. For example: Wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences and workshops
- Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery, art and choir
- Post-secondary on-campus student housing
Korolov, M. (2019. What is biometrics? 10 physical and behavioral identifiers that can be used for authentication. CSO. Retrieved from: https://www.csoonline.com/article/3339565/what-is-biometrics-and-why-collecting-biometric-data-is-risky.html.
Thales (2021). Biometrics: definition, use cases, and latest news. Retrieved from: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/markets/digital-identity-and-security/government/inspired/biometrics
BCCDC. (2021). BCCDC Data Summary, Sept. 2, 2021. (Pg. 16). Retrieved from: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID_sitrep/2021-09-02_Data_Summary.pdf