COVID-19: Calgarian hopes vaccine passport technology takes off

Click to play video: 'Calgarian creates digital health passport for post-pandemic travel' Calgarian creates digital health passport for post-pandemic travel
WATCH: Port Pass is an app that creator Zak Hussein hopes will help Canadians get back to travelling internationally. Hussein says that thousands of Canadians have registered for the app and he's now eagerly anticipating the federal government's plan for vaccine passports. – Jun 14, 2021

As international travel begins to resume around the world, Calgary tech developer Zak Hussein saw an opportunity.

He created an app, Port Pass, that allows users to store vaccination and COVID-19 testing information digitally in one simple place.

Read more: Canada’s privacy commissioners issue guidance as country mulls COVID-19 vaccine passports

Hussein said the digital health passport is ready to launch, with thousands of Canadians already registered in anticipation of being allowed to once again travel from country to country.

“For example, if you end up in Bulgaria, they’re going to ask you, ‘Do you have a negative test? Do you have vaccination?'” explained Hussein.

Hussein partnered with a world-renowned cybersecurity company and said that Port Pass is secure with the privacy of Canadians top of mind.

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“We provide credentials and (the company is) on the blockchain. No one sees what’s on the app. The user controls what information is on the app,” Hussein said.

Read more: Many Canadians support potential COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel: poll

As the idea of vaccine passports has been floated around, the concern for those that operate digitally has focused on the security of citizens’ private health information.

University of Calgary associate professor of law Lorian Hardcastle said that it’s one of the legal challenges with vaccine passports.

“The concern that I think that people have is that if they’re linked anywhere to the system where your health records are contained, then there’s always that potential for data breaches,” Hardcastle explained.

Read more: UN agency details new ‘digital seal’ as countries mull COVID-19 vaccine passports

Hardcastle said there have been countries that have used a paper system that doesn’t store people’s data but could be susceptible to forgery.

Hussein said that Port Pass was created to match all guidelines and standards in place and its launch is imminent.

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