Tech firms funded by the British government are developing facial recognition systems that could be used by private businesses, such as pubs, as coronavirus vaccine passports.
The scheme being developed by the tech companies iProov and Mvine — which have received a £75,000 government grant — would see companies employ software that would cross-reference the face of British patrons to vaccination and coronavirus testing databases before entering their establishment.
The chief executive of iProov, Andrew Bud, told The Times that other vaccine passport systems are ineffective compared to facial recognition technology.
“Whoever is standing on the door of the pub is going to have to scan the certificate, read the name and date of birth, then ask the person for an ID document, check that the name and date of birth on the ID document are the same, squint at the photograph on the ID document and then make sure that the person in front of them is that person,” Mr Bud said, adding: “…that’s not going to happen.”
The plan being developed by the two companies would instead see people stare into a smartphone camera, which would use facial recognition to check against NHS data on vaccination and coronavirus test status, reportedly within seconds.
“It speeds the process up and it absolves people of what would otherwise be a very heavy responsibility,” Bud said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that pub landlords could bar unvaccinated people from entering their buildings, claiming that the “concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us”.
This comes in direct opposition to previous statements from the British leader, who said in December that there “is no part of our culture or our ambition in this country to make vaccines mandatory”.
Also this week, Britain’s vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, floated the idea that the use of vaccine passports could be expanded to places of worship, such as churches, telling The Telegraph: “If we want our lives back, I think we’ve got to at least – if nothing else – look at all this stuff.”
The statements represent another u-turn from the government, with Mr Zahawi saying in December: “Mandating vaccinations is discriminatory and completely wrong… I urge businesses listening to this today not to even think about this. We’ve absolutely no plans for vaccine passports.”
Vaccine Passports Could be Used in Supermarkets Suggests UK Foreign Secretary https://t.co/I6BWrbvLZd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 16, 2021
Facial recognition software has already been implemented by private businesses and the police across the United Kingdom; however, the technology has not yet been used to enforce coronavirus regulations.
The Orwellian tech has been widely adopted in supposedly more authoritarian countries such as communist China, which has installed over 200 million surveillance cameras across the country as a part of its so-called ‘Skynet’ system.
Russia has been using facial recognition systems to police its coronavirus lockdowns, with Moscow police using their vast network of cameras to crack down on supposed violations of the lockdown restrictions.
Speaking to Breitbart London earlier this month, DeleteMe CEO Rob Shavell warned that the use of vaccine passport systems would lead to a form of “algorithmic discrimination” that could range from employers refusing to hire unvaccinated people, to insurers refusing service, and certain groups being prioritised for economic opportunities.
Shavell said that through the mass collection of data, Western countries such as Britain are creating a “sneaky capitalist” version of the Chinese social credit system.
The government has yet to endorse any form of coronavirus vaccine passport, with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove currently heading up an inquiry into the ethics and practicality of such a system.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the government is not planning on introducing a health pass when pubs are re-opened in May, saying: “We’re taking time to consider this issue carefully. It is a complex issue.”
“Our focus at the moment is the vaccine rollout; that has to be our priority… there are a range of issues we need to work through, that work is now happening and it will be reporting back later, but if we do go down that route, we don’t anticipate it being in the near term,” Jenrick added.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 18, 2021
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