Governor Baker announced yesterday that COVID-19 vaccine verification technology may soon be implemented in Massachusetts.

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response:

“Given the significant health impacts of the COVID-19 virus in our country and state, the ACLU does not oppose the idea of requiring proof of vaccination in certain contexts. But the devil is in the details. The ACLU is monitoring how Massachusetts and other states roll out these vaccine verification systems, to ensure that civil liberties and civil rights are protected.

“Massachusetts leaders must take steps to ensure that privacy protections are in place before adopting any vaccine verification system. This includes steps to prevent vaccine verification technology from enabling the tracking and cataloguing of people’s movements and activities, and to prohibit private companies from collecting and selling our personal data. Such commonsense privacy protocols are key to protecting civil liberties and establishing the trust necessary to achieve widespread adoption of public health technologies. Policymakers also must address the equity issues involved in promoting smartphone technology, ensuring that vaccine credentialing systems include reasonable accommodations for those who do not own smartphones or have other access issues.

“The ACLU stands ready to work with the Baker administration and the legislature to effectively balance public health and civil liberties, to help ensure a safe and equitable reopening.”

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