iOS 15 makes your iPhone a COVID-19 vaccine passport
Apple’s work with airlines, governments, and everyone else inevitably means your iPhone and Apple Watch will become your driving license. Apple has now confirmed it will also become your COVID-19 vaccine passport.
The digital you
Apple hasn’t said too much about this plan, potentially reflecting that some people are not entirely comfortable with the creation of another form of ID document, though resistance to taking the vaccine is thankfully dwindling.
Apple’s implementation in iOS 15 relies on a QR code which you’ll get from your healthcare provider. This will then store data concerning your COVID-19 immunizations and test results in the Health app.
Momentum already happened
The reality is that most governments are now moving to deploy some form of system along these lines. The EU will make its system available to all member states from next month and most nations eager to maintain any kind of normalcy are doing the same.
The fact is that it is inevitable that in order to travel you’re going to need to carry these documents, just as it is also inevitable that we’ll see technology providers figure out how to digitize the things.
I do think it’s important these forms of ID become as recognizable and effective as any other form of ID. I also think these should be free, giving those who lack other forms of government ID a way to access services, and voting itself in some cases.
Everything in your pocket, isn’t
This isn’t the only ID we’ll see appear in Apple devices once the new operating systems ship.
You will be able to add your driver’s license and state ID to Wallet on your iPhone and a paired Apple Watch and present them securely at TSA checkpoints, for example.
It seems inevitable that the biometric authorizations already built-into iPhones, iPads will be used as proof of identity. Passports, COVID passports, driving licenses as well as home, car, hotel and office keys will all become digitized. Apple is just creating the curve it leads on.
Of course, as the devices themselves shrink into the background with wearables and virtual machines, ID will travel with you. Which will provide many benefits to many people, but will also threaten a whole new set of challenges worthy of at least one Cory Doctorow novel.