Travel Daily

DFAT releases VDS app


A NEWLY launched smartphone app from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a simple way for anyone to verify Visible Digital Seal for NonConstra­ined Environmen­ts (VDSNC) digital health certificat­es, initially for COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns in Australia but with future applicatio­ns for other countries.

Now available on the Apple iOS store, and expected to become shortly available on the Google Play store too, the VDS-NC Checker app developed by the Australian Passport Office complies with standards specified by the Internatio­nal Civil Aviation Organisati­on (ICAO).

VDS-NC certificat­es are “like a passport chip in QR format, with the same high level of security against forgery,” the app descriptio­n notes, and can be authentica­ted online or offline.

The certificat­es have been developed in conformity with World Health Organizati­on guidance on digital secure vaccinatio­n documentat­ion, and are compatible with digital wallets and COVID-19 travel apps such as the IATA TravelPass.

The new app will complement authentica­tion facilities in normal passport readers, with DFAT noting that not all countries issue ePassports, or have had the opportunit­y to modify their readers to consume health data.

“Moreover, a need to authentica­te VDS-NC certificat­es will not be limited to borders health department­s and other entities will also wish to process them,” DFAT said.

If the QR code being checked is authentic, the app displays informatio­n from the certificat­e including the holder’s “biodata and COVID-19 immunisati­ons”.

The app is part of new digital infrastruc­ture being developed by the government for vaccine passports (TD 04 Aug).

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