Immunization Passports in Europe

I have been seeing mention of immunization passports in the Italian press. Leaving aside whether the idea, in principle, is a good one (I don’t want the question to degenerate into an argument about the pro’s and con’s of the passport per se), what I find troubling about the articles is that Apple and Android are often mentioned as being used for implementation of this.

I would be curious what Europeans on the site think of this and whether it would be possible to fall back to a good old analogue immunization passport should this occur.


The EU has called upon all countries making preparations towards working to that ‘solution’. One could argue about this, however each country will still have to have their national debate about it and its future consequences, then have it agreed and embedded in their national legislation first.

Personally, I think introducing such a passport to be a very bad idea and an extreme precedent in any way you’d look at it.

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Are you concerned you may not be able to travel ‘Linux-only’? EU cannot exclude people based on their device of preference, cannot exclude people who do not own a smartphone either.

EU perhaps not, but EU members do it all the time. There is an exclusive closed software for filing taxes in at least one country that I know of.

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Yes. Because at that point you would be tracked by the phone provider.

I suppose a solution would be to put the device in a faraday bag.

Same discussion here in Québec, Canada too. Though they did not mention Apple or Google, but where talking about digital passport, which I guess might be the same thing, but not necessary. These passports would be use to enter Cinema or Theater.

But you can still fill it with pen and paper, can’t you?

This might be the case, although I never miss the chance to pay someone else to do this for me :stuck_out_tongue:

EU cannot constrain their citizens to big tech software. In worst case scenario, alternatively they should allow you to do a PCR test validation instead.

I just heard a comment of Linus Neumann, member of Chaos Computer Club. He said something like he thinks that to roll out a secure and functional digital solution on national or even a European level would be a big project and take longer than the immunize people by vaccination.

There was also a setence that the paper vaccination passport are well established solution without privacy issues. I am not sure if this thesis came from him.

Does anybody know if the yellow vaccination passports are an international / European format?

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Mr. Wieler, Boss of German Robert Koch Institute said today that there already are similar sitiations e.g. where countries only travel in if you can proof to be vaccined against yellow feaver.

EU is a joke by itself. Where are the vaccines? Israel is almost done with vaccination and the market is open. EU does not have vaccines, we go from one lockdown to the next, and these guys talk about the immunization passport. So this is what I think about EU (being in EU): they are a group of bureaucrats incapable of doing anything serious. So yes I am pretty sure they will be sold to Google and Apple, and they will be proud of it too.
Now about L5, I guess you can always have it on paper. Because a bureaucrat can not argue when you tell him “I do not have a phone”.


They definitely can! It is as simple as issuing a law obliging you to have a phone with a “covid passport” proprietary app installed. No phone - your problem. Go and buy one. For your own money. Disregarding your views on proprietary software and any other tech-related stuff.

That’s not something impossible - this border (“no phone - your problem”) is already trespassed by some governments (without any resistance from happy smartphone-obsessed majority), and there is no guarantee that any other government won’t trespass this border too. That’s just too convenient for flock accounting, and there are way too little people who still separate their digital life from real one and are able to object strongly against such laws.

:thinking: So I should purchase a supply of faraday bags…

Mind to provide reference?

The problem is we all want control over what’s on our phones and something like an immune passport will be stored in hardware that the end user has no control over. I don’t want the government or anyone else to have access to some part of my phone that I don’t.


There are a lot of people who still use dumbphones or even no phones at all (mostly people over 50 yo)
About 20% of the population are computer illiterate, having less than basic computer use skills. In the same time, these people are those the least likely to travel…

Yet they still have the right to travel and I’m positive that given the human rights record in Europe they couldn’t make it mandatory that everybody should have an app that would install only on an iOS or Android device

Even if a vaccination proof will become mandatory to access some services, there will certainly be the option of a paper document.

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Does anybody know if the yellow vaccination passports are an international / European format?

Yes, the World Health Organization “Yellow Card” / “Carte Jaune” – officially known as the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis – has been international since 1933. I’ve used one for travel for ages. Mine is a yellow booklet, but the appearance varies by country. The contents are standardized, though.
Because of counterfeit booklets, the authorities in many countries want to get rid of the paper certificate and replace it with a phone app. Zimbabwe has already made big strides in that direction, and other African countries are following suit. The certificate is backed by blockchain, and as far as I know, one can get a paper certificate with a QR code that can be checked electronically, but I don’t know how long the paper option will continue to be allowed.
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Glad you asked! It is a fortune that I live exactly in such a country (named “Russia”). There are some cases in which you just don’t have any other option than using the phone, and there are cases when it is hell hard to do something if you are not a happy phone owner, though formally there are options.

First of all, it is worth noting (to explain the points below), that our law requires any SIM card vendor to request a buyer’s passport and store the passport data associated with card’s IMSI. This way every SIM card is associated with a real and validated person. In other words, there is no legal way to purchase and use a SIM card staying anonymous or providing fake personal identifying information, so phone-based (e.g. via SMS) authentication is a favorite tool of our government:

That’s what about “go and buy a phone for your own money”. Law does not care if you have only a laptop. If you want to use social networks, messengers or public Internet access - go and buy a phone and a SIM card.


  • getting a banking card while not having a phone is at least a pain (I don’t even sure that this is possible now - most of the banks will just refuse to issue a card if you don’t provide and verify the phone number via SMS). The reason are the regulations imposing some obligations on banks, which are easy to comply only if the bank has your phone number and can contact you at any time. While, again, this is not a direct enforcement of having a phone, it is close to impossible to obtain a banking card without a phone;
  • during early pandemics in Moscow, our government did its best to make people hostages of their phones: mandatory digital passes for everyone leaving home for any reason and mandatory crazy social monitoring app for those who are suspected in having COVID emerged in early April. To be fair, after some social resonance government started providing smartphones for those who claim not having one, but this was not since the beginning of all this track-em-all crap. As to digital passes, there were different ways of obtaining them, but none of them were suitable for people who don’t use any devices at all.

In general, not having a phone here means not being able to do some basic things which in no way relate to cell phones per se. These restrictions are artificial and, efficiently, show that nothing prevents our lawmakers from issuing one more crazy law, requiring people to use a phone as a “covid passport” (we already had one mandatory app during the peak of COVID panic, so why not have another one?).


Thank you for that report and insight into your country.

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