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Discussion paper

Mass vaccination is needed to mitigate against the effects of COVID-19 and to help Australia start to ease restrictions. Vaccination ‘passports’ can be an effective way to track vaccination records and status within the population however some key technical, privacy and ethical considerations needs to be addressed to ensure they benefit all Australians.

In developing proof of vaccination, the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has developed some fundamental principles which form the blueprint for a safe and ethical vaccination 'passport', including:

  • Privacy by design – respects the data privacy of Australians
  • Purpose limitations – only uses data for the intended purpose of verifying COVID vaccination status
  • Flexible user control and consent – managed by users directly
  • Data minimisation – only capture the minimal amount of data
  • Data use transparency – have clear and unambiguous terms and conditions
  • Data expiry – data expires after its intended use is fulfilled
  • Safety and security – safe from fraudulent and harmful access
  • Allows for legitimate exemptions – considers use cases for all Australians, including those who are legitimately exempt
  • Covers groups not eligible for Medicare – including temporary workers, residents and international students
  • Adopts a partnership with the private sector as needed – considers the best product use cases and leverages the private sector as required
  • Allows for verifiable non-digital format – caters to Australians with no/limited digital access
  • No biometric capture – doesn’t use problematic biometrics for identification
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