Science & Technology

Australia’s yellow international immigration card has undergone a digital makeover in the COVID era.Here are 5 important questions

Australia, CQUniversity, Information and Communication Technology Lecturer, Mahmoud Elkhodr


As Australia prepares to lift the ban on international travel, the federal government grants Ireland-based IT multinational Accenture an A $ 75 million contract to develop a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) system. bottom.

These new digital paths, Announced this weekReplaces the two current documents. A physical arrival passenger card and online completed by all international arrivals to Australia. COVID-19 Australia Travel Declaration, Details of COVID vaccination status of travelers.

Overseas travel restrictions are set Lifted for vaccinated Australians When the country reaches 80% vaccination, whether unvaccinated foreign travelers can enter Australia after the border opens, or unvaccinated Australians travel abroad It is not yet clear whether they will be allowed to return home.

Also, it is not yet clear how the new system will interact with COVID.Vaccine passportThe government has promised to make it available to Australians starting next month, allowing them to prove their vaccination status using either digital or printed documents.

The federal government has stated that the new DPD system can also share details of international traveler health and vaccination status with state and territory health authorities.

Federal Minister Stuart Robert, who is in charge of digital data policy, said the program could be extended in the future to cover visas, import licenses, licenses, registrations and other government-issued documents. rice field.

Much of the details haven’t been confirmed yet, but the announcement raises a variety of questions about how the new digital passenger filing actually works.

Is the new document a “vaccine passport”?

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Travelers arriving in Australia, both Australians and foreigners, previously had to fill out a physical filing card.

In reality it is not. This isn’t the only thing, as it replaces the yellow immigration card that anyone who has traveled to Australia on international flights in recent years knows.

In addition to this, the system also allows passengers to digitally upload their COVID vaccination certificate. It is not yet clear if this will be the same document as the “vaccine passport” that will be issued by the federal government starting next month.

Vaccine passports can be presented to immigration offices in other countries, but DPD information is purely for Australian officials to collect. Also, the documents that foreign arrivals can use to declare COVID vaccination status to Australian authorities via the DPD system are unclear.

read more:
Vaccine passport is coming to Australia. How do they work and what do they need for?

How do you address your privacy and security concerns?

Fill out the Arrival Passenger Card The arriving traveler will disclose a lot of personal information such as name, passport number, address in Australia, customs and quarantine related declarations.

The newly proposed DPD system captures all these details and the COVID vaccination status of travelers. This raises some questions about how these data are collected, transmitted, stored, accessed and shared.

Digital-based systems pose an increased risk of cybersecurity, and cybercriminals will undoubtedly pay attention to their vulnerabilities. You also need a clear policy detailing which federal, state, and territory agencies are allowed access to your data.

Do foreign visitors need to declare vaccination status? Also, if I cannot prove that I have been vaccinated, will I be denied entry? Still do not know.

Will the authorities decide who needs to be quarantined based on the status of vaccination? Will Australia, like other countries such as the United Kingdom, implement traffic light systems to identify which countries pose the greatest risk to unvaccinated travelers?

It’s also unclear if the system will be offered at Languages ​​other than English, And whether to provide an alternative for those who need accessibility or lack access to digital devices.

How is the vaccination status of travelers checked?

Recently, Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan Told to ABC Radio The government is working with the International Civil Aviation Organization on a QR-based system that allows Australian vaccine certificates to be recognized internationally.

However, at this stage, whether the new DPD system can check the vaccination status of Australians returning home using the same system, and whether it can be checked without further checking the vaccination status of foreign travelers. Is unknown.

At the same time, Qantas investigating How to integrate yet another system, IATA Travel Pass, For your own app. The system was developed by the International Air Transport Association and is already in use by airlines in several countries, allowing passengers to securely store and present their COVID vaccination certificate and provide information on travel testing and vaccination requirements. You can find it.

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IATA Travel Pass.

Why is there no globally unified approach?

Residents of the European Union are already free to move between member states and to other participating countries such as Norway using the EU Digital COVID Certificate App. The app uses a digitally signed QR code to ensure reliability without collecting additional personal information from the owner.

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EU digital certificate app.

New York, on the other hand, uses blockchain-based apps. Excelsior PassProvides digital proof of COVID vaccination or negative test results. This works by looking up the state health department records and using a special cryptographic signature to verify that the COVID certificate and health data are genuine.

At least for the time being, international passengers will need to use several different apps to prove their vaccination status in different parts of the world. This has obvious problems that go beyond simple inconveniences, such as data and privacy protection.

Does the system unfairly discriminate?

my research Shows that the lack of a unified approach to the COVID-19 contact tracking app is a major factor behind failure around the world. Similar problems have arisen with the rapid spread of national and international COVID certificates, travel passes and vaccine passports.

One issue is compatibility. For example, the Excelsior Pass app only works on devices running Apple iOS version 13 or later or Android version 7 or later.

But more importantly, people should have the right to prove their vaccination status without having to carry a smartphone. Even in a rich country like Australia 80% of the population owns a smartphone, And its rate is lower in developing countries. Systems that rely solely on apps disproportionately deny freedom of movement to the poor.

Other issues go beyond the choice of related technology. As Australia and the world gradually open their borders, legislation is needed to prevent unvaccinated, well-founded people from facing discrimination.


Mahmoud Elkhodr does not work, consult, own shares or receive funds for any company or organization that will benefit from this article.

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Australia’s yellow international immigration card has undergone a digital makeover in the COVID era.Here are 5 important questions Australia’s yellow international immigration card has undergone a digital makeover in the COVID era.Here are 5 important questions

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