You may soon be living in a world where your personal health data—including results from COVID-19 testing and data proving whether or not you’ve received certain vaccines—must be shared and authenticated before you’re able to enter a sports arena, travel by air or even enter your workplace.
The technology behind such innovations, which many are calling a threat to civil liberties and privacy, is already available to the general public in the App Store and Google Play via Civic Technologies’ Civic Wallet. Civic Technologies, which bills itself as a “leading innovator in digital identity solutions,”1 released its “Civic Wallet” app June 16, 2020. Previously it was only available in private beta mode.
In addition to offering a way for users to send and receive digital currency, including bitcoin, ethereum, CVC and USDC, which are U.S. dollars converted to assets on the ethereum blockchain,2 Civic Wallet will also offer proof-of-health verifications via its so-called Health Key.
This, according to a news release, “will offer the ability to provide secure and regulation-compliant health checks for employers,”3 which means your employer may one day require you to prove you’re COVID negative and/or vaccinated in order to hold a job and earn a living.
Hundreds of Employees Will Have Health Data Verified by Phone
Civic Technologies has partnered with Circle Medical, an affiliate of San Francisco-based hospital UCSF Health, which will use the app so 500 of its employees can prove their health and vaccination status. First, the employees will be tested for COVID-19 at a Circle Medical facility in the San Francisco Bay area—more facilities are also expected to be coming soon.4 As noted by Forbes, the partnership:5
… will let employees prove to their employers the results of their most recent COVID-19 tests, and when a vaccine is developed, whether or not they’ve received it.
Far from a theoretical blockchain application that might be of value at some future date, the app, which lets users prove a wide range of personal information, as well as spend bitcoin, ether, a version of the U.S. dollar issued on the ethereum blockchain, and Civic’s own token is available … on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Civic plans to roll out its proof-of-health verification for companies with more than 500 employees. When an employee signs up, they will be verified as a real person using a mix of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain-based technology, then have the option to share their “Health Key” with third parties.
Vinny Lingham, Civic’s co-founder and CEO, told Forbes, “You don’t have to transmit your name, or anything like that … So you can walk into a stadium anonymously like you do today, but just prove that as you walk through the gates that you’d been vaccinated.”6
As for those who may feel that having to “prove” they’ve been vaccinated to enter a stadium or other facility is a violation of their privacy and right to informed consent, Lingham stated, “If you’re part of a society where the majority of the people want everyone to be vaccinated, and you don’t want to be part of that society change countries, move somewhere else.”7
The app had more than 100,000 people signed up on its waiting list, and more than 12,000 downloads occurred on the first day of its launch.8 Circle Medical’s founder and CEO told Forbes, “I think with COVID there is a real need on the part of the employer to be able to screen and assess COVID risk before they let people back into the workplace.”9
Vending Machines, Buildings Could Require Data Verification
In addition to employers, services like vending machines and building security services could be among those that would require people to provide certain information prior to using the machine or entering the building. The data exists on an ethereum-powered decentralized identity network, in which the user owns the identity of the information, which is requested by a service. At that point, Forbes reported:10
An agreed-upon fee paid for in Civic’s native token (CVC) is placed into an escrow account and the validator software scans the requester’s required personally identifiable information (for example, age or vaccine status). CVC now sells for $$0.0327, according to Messari, with a total market value of $29 million.
If the user meets the criteria and the requester is satisfied access is granted and the fee in escrow is released. Thanks to cutting-edge mathematical breakthroughs called zero-knowledge proofs, not even the validator actually has the information, but just knows whether or not the requirement is met.
In early testing phases, Civic partnered with beer giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev to create vending machines for beer, with users proving their age using a version of Civic Wallet. Since then, 12 companies have contracted with Civic to sell age-restricted products via vending machines.
What’s more, “Civic is currently in conversations with health care companies and government agencies under terms of a nondisclosure agreement,” Forbes noted, in addition to plans by Johnson Controls International (JCI) to use the technology as part of its credentials for building access.11
Another Move Toward Global Currency?
In addition to its proof-of-health verification, Civic Wallet is intended to allow users an “easy way to pay friends and family around the world” using digital currency, which can be “sent globally with low fees for a limited time.” Funds can be sent to usernames, addresses or QR codes using the app, and Civic Wallet offers a $1 million cryptocurrency protection guarantee insured by Lloyd’s of London underwriters.12
“If you have up to a million dollars in your wallet,” Lingham told Forbes, “you lose your phone, you break your phone, you’re fleeing your country in some part of the world and your phone falls in the ocean, you will get your funds on the other side.”13
Cryptocurrencies are developed for a variety of reasons. For instance, Bitcoins are used to buy and sell products and services. However, some companies are using cryptocurrency to give buyers access to a product or service that the company is offering or plans to offer.14
It’s a way of raising money but, unlike stock where you own part of the company that’s offering it, during an initial coin offering (ICO) you are buying a future service or product—Civic Technologies raised $43 million in a 2017 ICO.15
The backbone of cryptocurrency systems is meant to be decentralized. However, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation formed Mojaloop, which is open-source software designed to be used for financial transactions that is intended to be hosted by a government or financial institution authorities.
Mojaloop is poised to create a platform that allows people from all over the world to send money to each other with low transaction fees, similar to Civic Wallet. Ripple, a payment cryptocurrency and platform currently used by some banks, will be the foundation of payment processing for Mojaloop.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies that rely on blockchain to encrypt and safeguard the transactions, Ripple uses a patented technology called Ripple protocol consensus algorithm (RPCA). Included in their network, called RippleNet, are several institutional payment providers that people use to send money around the world.
These providers include American Express, PNC Bank, Interbank and MoneyGram.16 Together with Google, Gates and other large tech companies in the coalition, Ripple is positioned to potentially gain control of a created global currency and drive down the value of country-based currency.
First State Hands Over Vaccine Mandate Power to ACIP
Meanwhile, as Civic Technologies quietly released an app to track your vaccination status, the Virginia legislature passed H.B.1090 earlier in 2020, which amended a law requiring children attending day care and public and private schools in the state to receive vaccines.
The bill proposed that children enrolled in Virginia day care or schools automatically be required to receive all vaccines recommended by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as a condition for getting a school education.
The final bill gives the Virginia Board of Health the legal authority to add any vaccines recommended by ACIP, except for the annual influenza vaccination, to the list of vaccines required for children to attend school without holding public hearings or a vote by elected state legislators.
In so doing, Virginia citizens have been blocked from participating in the vaccine law-making process and legislators have turned over their law-making authority to unelected members of the board of health and a federal advisory committee. The Vaccine Reaction reported:17
In handing the power to make vaccine laws to unelected members of a federal advisory committee and state Board of Health, the Virginia legislature has abdicated responsibility and accountability to constituents by cutting out elected representatives and the voters who elected them from the vaccine law making process.
Although the new law provides for a 60-day public comment period after the Board of Health issues a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action to add a new vaccine to the required list for daycare and school attendance, the legislature will never again hold a public hearing where citizens can testify for or against the addition of a new vaccine mandate for children.
What’s more, in a legislative committee public hearing on the proposed law that was held Jan. 21, 2020, no time restrictions were placed on those speaking in favor of the bill, but a 10-minute cap—total—was placed on those speaking in opposition. This meant the majority of those waiting to testify in opposition were prevented from speaking, blocking their right to participate in the democratic law-making process.
The same pattern occurred again when the bill moved to the House Appropriations Subcommittee, with no time limit place for those in favor of the bill and a 10-minute cap placed on those speaking against it. The bill’s passing is even more concerning in light of the current race to develop COVID-19 vaccines, which are being fast-tracked and will likely be mandated despite legitimate concerns about potential risks and concerns about effectiveness. According to The Vaccine Reaction:
The automatic adoption by state public health officials of all new federally recommended vaccines to the required list for children to attend school in the Commonwealth without input from citizens and elected representatives is even more concerning because COVID-19 vaccines are being fast tracked to licensure.
While it normally takes 15 to 20 years to develop a vaccine, a vaccine for COVD-19 may be on the market by this September and federally recommended for use by all children and adults in 2021.18
Now that Virginia has handed over its vaccine law-making power to the CDC and ACIP, others are likely to follow, just as more employers are likely to adopt Civic Technologies’ proof-of-health verification app and others like it.
Ultimately, this and other privacy violations, like contact tracing apps, could lead to a future in which a vaccine certificate or “unique patient ID number” replaces personal identifications such as your driver’s license, state ID card, Social Security card and passport, and is tied not only to your medical records in total, but also your finances.
If you may soon be required to “prove” that you’ve passed certain medical tests and received certain vaccines just to enter a building or go to work, what other information may also be required one day? Will state governments continue to take away additional freedoms and eliminate your right to privacy in the name of public health?
If you’re concerned about preserving your rights to vaccine choice and would like more information on how to proactively protect those rights, please visit the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website, where you can find an illustrated and fully referenced “A Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy & Law,” which is an excellent vaccine education tool for you, legislators and friends and family, too.
The challenges are great, but so are the opportunities to educate and empower legislators and residents of every state to defend vaccine freedom of choice. NVIC is committed to continuing to make that happen and they look forward to working with you through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to help you protect vaccine informed consent rights in your state in 2020 and beyond.
1 Business Wire June 16, 2020.
2 Forbes June 16, 2020.
3 See Footnote 1.
5 See Footnote 2.
8 The Crypto Sight June 18, 2020.
9 See Footnote 2.
12 See Footnote 1.
13 See Footnote 2.
14 CNBC May 9, 2018.
15 See Footnote 2.
16 Ripple, Bottom Right.
17 The Vaccine Reaction June 15, 2020.