I was reading an interesting article this week on a new phone app called CommonPass. This is an app that will be useful to international air travelers and I expect to domestic air travelers and cruise travelers as well once cruising starts back up.
The CommonPass app is used to prove your Covid test status to airlines. It is pretty simple in how it works. You go in to get a Covid test at your doctors’ office or any of a number of testing centers. When your test results come back, they are automatically uploaded to the CommonPass app. You show up at the airport, open the app, they scan a QR code in the app and see if you’re positive or negative.
There is more! The CommonPass app will also let you have your vaccination records uploaded so that when you land in a foreign country, they can verify that you had any required shots.
The company that is developing the CommonPass app is called The Commons Project. It is “a nonprofit public trust established to build platforms and services to make life better for people around the world.” This means that they are not owned or run by any government agencies. This is important because you want your data to stay private. It is not given out to any governments or 3rd party companies. When you go to have someone scan your app to see if you are positive or negative for Covid, all they get is your flight information and a pass or fail on the Covid test.
You also have complete control over the information that is stored within the system. If you are going to Africa for instance and you need to have malaria shots, you can have your shot records uploaded. When you get to your destination, they can verify that you have had the required shots.
The CommonApp is in beta testing right now. Not all airports or countries are set up for it but once it is a proven technology, it shouldn’t take long to catch on. Many countries right now are not letting people in because there is no way to validate their health status. This is a tool to let them do that.
There is no mention of the cruise line industry using the app. It would only make sense that this will become available to them as well once they start sailing. As the app is only in beta testing right now and the cruise lines are not sailing yet, there isn’t much they can do with the app now anyway.
The Commons Project has a few other projects as well. There is CommonHealth which lets you carry around your health records with you. CovidCheck (https://covidcheck.org/en/) is a website that will help you determine your “at-risk” level of having Covid. It asks a series of questions and then tells you if you are at risk and things you should do to protect yourself. As always, If you think your may have Covid, go to a doctor or testing center and get yourself checked out. This is just to help you determine your at-risk level.
And their last project is CommonGEO. I’ll post what they say on their website: “CommonGEO applies geographic intelligence to realize the full potential of data to solve complex problems. It is currently deployed to support COVID response efforts across the East Africa Community.” I don’t see how this can help with the consumer market, it’s more of something governments or health organizations would utilize.
You can learn more about CommonPass by going to https://commonpass.org/.
Last week I mentioned that starting in 2021 anyone going to a Schengen country in Europe would need to have a visa starting in 2021. This is part of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) initiative to strengthen its border security as well as digitally screen and track travelers entering and leaving European countries.
I did some follow-up research this week. Because of Covid and other factors, the visa program will not be going into effect until 2022.
For now, American citizens can visit any of the 26 countries that participate in the Schengen agreement with just your passport. You can find a list of these countries and more information on the Schengen agreement at https://www.axa-schengen.com/en/countries-schengen-area.