COVID Passport or National e-passport?
I’m not certain they are the first to initiate discussion on COVID passports but the EU has just pioneered COVID passport implementation. As expected, and in relation to national and regional political whims, it is subject to political debate and acceptance. For instance, some states in the united state consider this initiative, unconstitutional as a basis for offered service. See here. Subject of relative laws of the land, such debate will increase and as expected, the subject matter will, once again show the world's polarity.
What is the COVID passport? It is a certificate or e-certificate that shows one's inoculation status. So, when next you travel interstate or inter-region, be not dismayed that you might be required to tender your national passport + an vaccine passport. The begging question is, if you don’t have this travel requirement, what happens? Will you be sent back or asked to go through a special process like extra test and quarantine measure?
Deep down, in the name of health, I hope we haven’t just created an effective tool to decently discriminate against/within ourselves. To determine who gets what and who goes where. How many Africans can be vaccinated as quickly as their European counterpart? Will they then, be prevented from entry since there aren’t inoculated? Or they will be subject to alternative treatment. There is already a vaccine inequality. Rich countries have inventory ready to be jabbed into shoulders at the expense of poorer nation who can barely inoculate their vulnerable demography let alone the entire populace. Let’s take Nigeria for instance, the self-acclaimed giant of Africa, an estimated 200m persons with 60% youth. How many years will take this political and corrupt plagued nation to achieve herd immunization. Well…. let’s consider this topic for another day.
On the bright side though, it is a window into the future of national immigration passport services. Should this COVID passport be a successful feat perhaps, it can be replicated in the national passport level. A system where countries would replace their physical printing of passports with an e-version. No doubt, it will require huge infrastructural input but that does not make it impossible, neither does it, take away its impact. It is time, we start having this conversations because the earlier we do, we quicker we achieve and the more we will save, then channel the savings towards national areas requiring urgency.
A national form of identification is not one of those process that should take long to process. It takes an average of weeks to get passport even in advanced countries.
UK - 10 weeks
US - 4-6 weeks
India - 30 to 45 days
Russia - 6 weeks
Germany - 6 weeks
Source: simple google search - I stand to be corrected
Why is this important?
It is no surprise that technology infusion is a cost-effective and profit inducing approach to any operation. Why can't e-passpot be replicated at the national immigration level? There will be risk factors, for sure but even this, can mitigated and managed. Should physical passport be replaced with e-version (successfully), nations would achieve the same profitability that business enjoy. Not forgetting the sustainability impact of printing this physical units in the first place. Some call them special papers, they are paper regardless. Aren't they all sourced from trees or we just decided to choose our own type of hypocrac-ing.
e-National Passport could reduce humane resources involvement in passport process
e-National Passport could reduce cost as result of this afore mentioned HR reduction
e-National Passport could reduce processing time for passport applications
e-National Passport could increase globalization speed
e-National Passport could increase the ease of traveling
e-National Passport could reduce material sourcing e.g. Passport printing paper
e-National Passport could reduce budgetary figures for nations
e-National Passport could create centralization of travel history/data
e-National Passport could reduce airport traffic
e-National Passport could reduce the amount of time airport spend on the ground as a result of fast passenger processing.
e-National Passport could reduce identity theft as a result of passport misplacement
e-National Passport could reduces workload on foreign commission
e-National Passport could reduce human traffic and modern slavery
e-National Passport could create a global database of the world population
e-National Passport could centralize data for global population
e-National Passport could ensure faster application process
e-National Passport could increase standardization
e-National Passport could reduce errors
e-National Passport could increase flexibility of error correction
e-National Passport could
We cant just tackle sustainability/climate change, without changing the way we do things.