Ethical Surveillance in Vaccine Passports

18 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2022 Last revised: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by Ignacio Cofone

Ignacio Cofone

McGill University Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 11, 2022


This Essay explores the interrelated privacy and equality risks of deploying surveillance technology used in COVID-19 vaccine passports. The type of vaccine passport that governments implement has significant human rights ramifications. This Essay discusses how different vaccine passport designs can curb or exacerbate risks, providing a roadmap to guide policymakers in their app selection to mitigate unintended consequences. Vaccine passports should work on a decentralized system and use the least invasive data possible. Further, vaccine passports should be based solely on government vaccine data, should be implemented only in places where vaccines are widely available for free, should track location only when they are scanned, and should provide a non-digital option. Governments should have clear sunset clauses for the app and collected data.

Keywords: vaccine passports, immunity passports, COVID-19, AI ethics, surveillance, inequality, human rights

Suggested Citation

Cofone, Ignacio, Ethical Surveillance in Vaccine Passports (February 11, 2022). Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 45, 2022, Available at SSRN: or

Ignacio Cofone (Contact Author)

McGill University Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec H3A 1W9


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics