Coming 'COVID-19 passports' – mark of the Beast?
This column is not meant to argue vaccine versus no vaccine. Instead, I'm concerned about the many conversations I've recently h – ad with friends who are convinced that COVID-19 vaccination passports – for air travel, access to job sites, schools and public places – should be, and will be, instituted soon. I also know of people who are considering proof of vaccination to attend their private wedding ceremony and reception.
Currently, vaccination verification is limited to a paper form. Such a document could be easily forged. As such, alternate proposals are turning to technology. One proposal involves vaccination authentication that could be stored in a digital token on a smartphone app with various forms of two-step authorization as a safety mechanism.
In fact, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline trade association that represents 290 airlines worldwide, said on Nov. 23, 2020, that it was in the final stages of developing a digital vaccine passport for travelers. The IATA Travel Pass will let travelers share their vaccination status and COVID test results with airlines and border authorities via a contactless passport app.
But there's a problem: What about those without a smartphone?
In addition to those who don't have smartphones, there are countless individuals who do not want to share their personal health information with the likes of a private, for-profit corporation like Google.
But don't worry, there's a plan for these concerns.
It's called The Slippery Slope.
Let's be clear: There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 that insures immunity; one can still become ill. Also, the current vaccines do not prevent the spread of the virus.
Digital-format immunity passports would eventually likely normalize digital-format proof-of-status documents.
Advocates of COVID passports visualize a world where we can't pass through a door to a plane, workplace, school, or restaurant until the gatekeeper scans our credentials. In no time the public would be conditioned to submit to these demands.
This digital system could easily be expanded to check not just a person's immunity status, but any other bit of personal information a gatekeeper might deem relevant, such as banking information, age, pregnancy, HIV status, or criminal history; and all data – your data – could be accumulated into one database.
And could we really trust those overseeing the databases?
The next step in this plan will move from smartphone apps to invisible barcode-like tattoos stamped on the body of those who have been vaccinated. This would accommodate those without cell phones and prevent hackers from stealing personal information. The tattoo plan is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The easily applied invisible tattoos would likely be placed on the hand or forehead.
No, I'm not claiming the vaccine is the mark of the Beast, but I am emphasizing that society is moving very quickly into a brave new world, especially in the realm of personal privacy and information security.
"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast. …" (Revelation 13:16-17)
Keeping track of vaccinations remains a major challenge in the developing world, and even in many developed countries, paperwork gets lost, and parents forget whether their child is up to date. Now a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has developed a novel way to address this problem: embedding the record directly into the skin.
Along with the vaccine, a child would be injected with a bit of dye that is invisible to the naked eye but easily seen with a special cell-phone filter, combined with an app that shines near-infrared light onto the skin. The dye would be expected to last up to five years, according to tests on pig and rat skin and human skin in a dish.
The system—which has not yet been tested in children—would provide quick and easy access to vaccination history, avoid the risk of clerical errors, and add little to the cost or risk of the procedure, according to the study, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.
“Especially in developing countries where medical records may not be as complete or as accessible, there can be value in having medical information directly associated with a person,” says Mark Prausnitz, a bioengineering professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the new study. Such a system of recording medical information must be extremely discreet and acceptable to the person whose health information is being recorded and his or her family, he says. “This, I think, is a pretty interesting way to accomplish those goals.”
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