Vaccine Passports Face Privacy Skeptics On Right And Left But Legacy Media Paints GOP As Conspiracy Theorists

Vaccine Passports Face Privacy Skeptics On Right And Left But Legacy Media Paints GOP As Conspiracy Theorists

The left-wing media have blasted the GOP for being skeptical of vaccine passports, ignoring the concept's strong criticism from the left also.
Gabe Kaminsky
By

Ever since conservatives started raised concerns over the so-called “vaccine passports” the Biden administration is reportedly developing alongside big tech, the legacy media have added this to their narrative that those on the right are alarmist conspiracy theorists.

Aside from the point that Americans are not lunatics for maintaining prudent concerns about government overreach at a time the White House is governing from the far-left, many on the left have also voiced skepticism over vaccine passports. But the exhausting show goes on, as Democrats continue to malign all conservatives to fatuously claim a moral high ground.

The American Civil Liberties Union is a hard-left organization. A leaked internal memo sent by ACLU staffers in 2018 announced the well-funded legal activist group will re-evaluate a “defense of speech” since it may have a “harmful impact on the equality and justice” of society. The group awarded kneeling, Marxist-flirting quarterback Colin Kaepernick with an award in 2017 for being “courageous.” In the 2020 presidential election, the ACLU donated $463 million to Democratic candidates, committees, and PACs.

Nevertheless, ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley, who wrote about defunding the police in June, warned in a blog post on the organization’s website last week that “a lot can go wrong” with a centralized COVID-19 tracking system. Yet White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed “there will be no centralized, universal federal vaccinations database,” which continues to seem doubtful given recent developments regarding vaccine passports.

“Any proposal for vaccine credentials must be primarily paper-based, decentralized, and protect privacy,” Stanley wrote. “But given the difficulty of creating a digital vaccine passport, we could see a rush to impose a COVID credential system built on an architecture that is not good for transparency, privacy, or user control. That could lock us into a bad standard as other parties that need to issue credentials piggyback upon it to offer everything from age verification to health records to hunting licenses to shopping accounts, memberships, and web site logins.”

In a Daily Beast article published in December, left-leaning privacy attorneys Albert Fox Cahn and Amanda Hummell argued Silicon Valley is ill-equipped to handle millions of Americans’ data, which would lead to “a new wave of surveillance tools.”

While claiming algorithms are racist, the two make a solid case big tech will only abuse confidential information given its history of doing so. The piece takes a hard look at the implications of allowing big tech such intimate access into our lives, and questions both the role corporations should play in vaccine tracking and whether they are suited to do so at all.

New products claim to do everything from optimizing vaccine distribution to tracing infections to monitoring who has immunity, as tech firms have worked to insert themselves into every facet of the public health fight. But the reality keeps falling short of the sales pitch, and recent debacles with vaccine priority algorithms and contact tracing apps are a warning for what’s coming next as the tech firms are just getting started. With this godsend of a vaccine comes a renewed push for immunity passports, an unproven technology with a racist history that deserves no place in 21st century health care, and a new wave of surveillance tools to monitor our health data.

As acknowledged by reporter Jonathan Keane in CNBC on March 30, “vaccine passports could prove to be a privacy minefield for regulators” that raise concerns over public health ethics. Keane cited Nicole Hassoun, a professor at Binghamton University who specializes in public health and ethics. Hassoun said there are ethical concerns related to how the private sector and government coordinate – and issues pertaining to equality of opportunity in the public square as a result of a tighter regulatory environment.

“We need more data about what the effects on transmission are for people that are vaccinated or people who might have natural immunity, how long will that last? What happens when there are new strains?” Hassoun said. “We need to pay attention to what the private sector is doing as well as what governments are doing and make sure that we regulate if we have to and make sure that they’re fair to everybody.”

Wired Magazine contributor Maryn McKenna, who voiced her excitement over the MLB moving its All-Star Game due to Georgia’s new election law, also raised privacy concerns about vaccine passports on April 2. “The flip side of the problem of exclusion is worries over privacy: Where is the data on vaccination status held, how much gets shared, what will the incentives be to access it inappropriately?” writes McKenna.

Ignoring all this, the intellectually bankrupt corporate media understands the importance of narrative control. The leftist Washington machine is more comfortable acting as if all Democrats stand in solidarity over vaccine passports.

“How the GOP is turning vaccine passports into latest Covid culture war” declared an MSNBC headline on March 30.

“Republicans slam vaccine passports as dystopian, but experts say they’ll help us get back to normal faster,” Business Insider wrote on March 30.

“Republicans go to war over vaccine passports,” said Yahoo News on March 31.

“The GOP is hating on vaccine passports. Take it as a sign the passports are legitimate,” ran a headline in the Los Angeles Times on April 1.

The Atlantic said there is a “sudden conservative outrage over vaccine passports” and “The GOP’s version of freedom puts greater priority on right-wing cultural folkways than on rights of property and ownership.”

Perhaps there is more hesitancy from the political right on vaccine passports. This would make sense, given that conservatism is rooted in a healthy skepticism of government, whereas leftism tends to have no healthy fear of government power and overreach.

But the narrative that it is “only” conservatives not begging the government and corporations to track their data is far from the truth. That’s because vaccine passports are a terrible idea, and some leftists are honest enough to admit it. But not legacy media.

Gabe Kaminsky is an intern at The Federalist and a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. His writing has been featured in the Daily Wire, The American Conservative, the Washington Examiner, and other outlets. He has also appeared on Fox News, Hill.TV, and various radio programs. Follow him on Twitter @Gabe__Kaminsky or email [email protected]

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