Transcript: Will Ontario Digital Identification Be Safe? | Oct 08, 2021

Jeyan Jeganathan sits in front of a screen that reads “Ontario Hubs.” He has short black hair and a black beard and moustache. Jeyan wears a navy suit jacket, red tie and white dress shirt. Text beneath him reads “a. Will Ontario digital identification be safe?”

Jeyan says, ONTARIO'S NEW Q.R.
CODE IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM FOR
VACCINE PASSPORTS COMES INTO
EFFECT LATER THIS MONTH.

JUSTIN CHANDLER COVERS THE
HAMILTON-NIAGARA REGION FOR OUR
ONTARIO HUBS AND HE'S BEEN
LOOKING INTO PRIVACY AND SAFETY
CONCERNS OR EVEN BREACHES COULD
AFFECT FUTURE PLANS BY THE
GOVERNMENT TO CREATE A MULTI-USE
DIGITAL ID.

AND JUSTIN CHANDLER JOINS US NOW
FROM HAMILTON. HI JUSTIN.

Justin wears headphones over his parted brown hair. He wears a blue suit jacket, white shirt, and a red tie. Text under him reads “Hamilton, ON.”

Justin says, HI THERE.

Text reads “Will Ontario digital identification be safe? How it works.”

Jeyan says, ONTARIANS HAVE BEEN
SHOWING THEIR PROOF OF
VACCINATION IN THE FORM OF
PDFS ALONGSIDE THEIR
GOVERNMENT-ISSUED I.D. SINCE
SEPTEMBER TWENTY-SECOND.

YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING INTO THE
PRIVACY AND SAFETY ANGLE THERE.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CONCERNS
YOU'VE SEEN SO FAR?

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”

Justin says, ONE OF THE BIGGEST
CONCERNS THAT I AM SEEING IS
BASED AROUND THE ACTUAL SECURITY
OF THESE DOCUMENTS WHEN IT COMES
TO FRAUD.

AS IT STANDS, IF ONE IS ABLE TO
EDIT THE INFORMATION ON THEIR
VACCINE RECEIPT WITHOUT THE USE
OF SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE, THIS IS
SOMETHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS
AWARE OF.

THEY TELL ME THAT THEY TRUST
ONTARIANS WILL DO THE RIGHT
THING AND THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD
NOT BE TRYING TO DO THIS.

THEY SAY THAT THEIR DOCUMENTS
ARE SECURELY WATER MARKED.
BUT THIS DOES NOT STOP SOMEONE
VACCINATED FROM GOING IN AND
CHANGING INFORMATION.

Jeyan says, JUST TO CLARIFY WHEN
YOU SAY "GOING IN AND CHANGING."
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IN THE PDF
FOR MANUALLY CHANGING NAMES AND
THINGS LIKE THAT, CORRECT?

Justin says, YES, ON A VACCINE
RECEIPT, YES.

Jeyan says, GOT IT.
NOW LATER THIS MONTH THE
PROVINCE WILL BE INTRODUCED A QR
CODE THAT WILL SORT OF ENHANCE
THE SORT OF SYSTEM.

An image of a QR code appears. It has black squiggly lines over a white square.

Jeyan says, WE HAVE A PHOTO HERE THIS IS A
GENERIC QR CODE AND QR STANDS
FOR QUICK RESPONSE.

HOW EXACTLY WILL THIS SYSTEM WORK
AND HOW WILL IT DIFFER FROM THE
CURRENT SYSTEM WE HAVE RIGHT NOW?


Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”
“Will Ontario digital identification be safe? How it works.”

Justin says, QR CODES ARE THE
LITTLE SQUARE BAR CODES AND THEY
CAN BE READ BY A CAMERA PHONE.

SO SOMEBODY IS ABLE TO SCAN A QR
CODE AND IT CAN TAKE THEM TO A
LINK OR CERTAIN TYPE OF INFORMATION.

SO WHAT THE PLAN AS IS IT
CURRENTLY HAS BEEN LAID OUT IS,
PEOPLE IN ONTARIO WILL BE ABLE
TO GO ON TO THE GOVERNMENT
WEBSITE IN THE SAME WAY THAT
THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO DOWNLOAD
THEIR VACCINE RECEIPTS.

A headline of a news article on a website reads “How safe and secure are digital vaccine passports?” Text reads “tvo.org/OntarioHubs”

Justin says, AND DOWNLOAD WHAT THE PROVINCE
IS CALLING AN ENHANCED VACCINE
CERTIFICATE WHICH WILL BE IN THE
FORM OF A QR CODE.

SO THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR
DIGITAL STORAGE OR ONE COULD
PRINT IT.

AND THE IDEA IS THAT THEY'LL BE
ABLE TO TAKE THIS CODE WITH THEM
TO THE SAME PLACES THAT THEY
WOULD CURRENTLY TAKE THEIR
VACCINE CERTIFICATE.

AND THEY WOULD SHOW THAT TO THE
PERSON AT THE DOOR WHO'S
CHECKING THAT.

AND THESE PEOPLE WILL USE AN
ONTARIO-MADE APP IN ORDER TO
SCAN THE CODE.

AND THEN IT WILL SHOW UP TO SAY
THIS PERSON'S NAME AND WHETHER
OR NOT THEY'VE BEEN VACCINATED.

SO PAIRING THAT WITH SHOWING THE
ID THAT'S SHOWING ONE'S OWN ID.
THAT'S HOW YOU'LL PROVE IF
YOU'VE BEEN IF YOU ARE USING THE CODE.

HOWEVER, I SHOULD ALSO ADD THE
OLD SYSTEM WILL STILL BE ACCEPTED.

THIS NEW THING IS COMING IN.
BUT IF FOR WHATEVER REASON YOU
DON'T WANT TO DO THAT I WILL OF
YOU'LL STILL BE ABLE TO DO WHAT
YOU'VE BEEN DOING UP TO THIS POINT.

Jeyan says, YOU MENTIONED THAT
THIS IS AN ONTARIO-BASED APP.
AND SO THE PROVINCE HAS DECIDED
TO BUILD THIS IN-HOUSE.

AND THERE ARE OTHER PROVINCES
AND CITIES THAT HAVE DECIDED TO
ACT FASTER AND BEEN SORT OF
ALREADY DISHING OUT QR CODE
SYSTEMS ALREADY.

HOW HAS THAT BEEN PLAYING OUT IN
CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS LIKE QUEBEC?

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”
“Will Ontario digital identification be safe? How it works.”

Justin says, THE WAY THAT QUEBEC
IS DOING THIS IS THAT THEY HAVE
PEOPLE DOWN LOW IN APPS.
THEY GET AN APP AND BUSINESSES
GET AN APP THEY CAN VERIFY.
THAT'S WHERE THE QR CODE IS
COMING FROM.

AS WE UNDERSTAND FROM ONTARIO'S
PLAN'S IT'S BEEN LAID OUT, THE
BROAD STROKES ARE THE SAME SO
THE PERSON WILL BE SHOWING THE
QR CODE, GETTING IT SCANNED AND
THAT SPITS OUT WHETHER OR NOT
THEY'VE BEEN VACCINATED AND
THAT'S HOW WE'RE DETERMINING THIS.

AND SECURITY EXPERTS WHO'VE
LOOKED AT THE QUEBEC SYSTEM HAVE
FOR THE MOST PART SAID THAT IT
LOOKS PRETTY GOOD.

THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF
EXAMPLES WHERE IT SEEMS IT MIGHT
BE POSSIBLE TO FAKE A CODE
ALTHOUGH THAT COULD BE MORE
DIFFICULT THAN THE PDF.

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”
“Will Ontario digital identification be safe? How it works.”

Justin continues, THERE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTIONS THAT
IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO BUILD A
FAKE SCANNER THAT WOULD LOG SOME
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PERSON.

BUT ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF THE
QR CODE THAT THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO PROMOTED IS
THAT LESS INFORMATION IS BEING SHARED.

SO IF YOU HAVE, FOR EXAMPLE,
JUST YOUR NAME AND YOUR
VACCINATION STATUS COMING UP
CURRENTLY THE RECEIPTS ALSO SHOW
YOUR BIRTHDAY, THE LAST FOUR
DIGITS OF YOUR HEALTH CARD, ET
CETERA, ET CETERA.

THIS IS A MEANS OF PUTTING OUT
LESS INFORMATION THAN ONE
CURRENTLY IS.

Jeyan says, IS THERE A CONCERN,
THOUGH, THAT WE SAW THE QR CODE
FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE
BEEN MAYBE VENTURING OUT TO
RESTAURANTS AND STUFF WHEN I SEE
A QR CODE I THINK MENU NOW.

BUT THAT LITTLE CODE HAS LOTS OF
INFORMATION. WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT DO
THEY KNOW THAT -- DO THEY TRUST
A SYSTEM LIKE THIS.

Text reads “Will Ontario digital identification be safe? Privacy Concerns.”

Jeyan asks, ARE YOU HEARING ANYTHING IN
TERMS OF PEOPLE MAYBE NOT OPTING
OUT TO USE A QR CODE AND MAYBE
STAYING WITH THE PDF VERSION OF
THE VACCINE PASSPORT?

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”
“Will Ontario digital identification be safe? Privacy Concerns.”

Justin says, IT'S TRICKY AT THIS POINT.
FROM PEOPLE I'VE BEEN SPEAKING
TO ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THIS IS
A TRUSTABLE SYSTEM, THE IDEA IS
THAT, YES, IT SEEMS LIKE
ONTARIO'S FOLLOWING THE RIGHT
STEPS HERE AND THE GOVERNMENT
DOES SAY IT'S GOING TO MAKE THE
APP OPEN SOURCE.

WHICH MEANS THE CODE WILL BE PUT
OUT PUBLICLY SO THAT RESEARCHERS
AND PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THIS
PEOPLE INDEPENDENT FROM THE
GOVERNMENT CAN LOOK AT THIS AND
SAY THIS IS GOOD MAYBE THERE'S A
FLAW HERE IN THE SAME WAY THAT A
MECHANIC CAN LOOK AT YOUR CAR
AND TELL YOU WHETHER OR NOT IT'S
WORKING WITHOUT YOU HAVING TO BE
AN EXPERT YOURSELF.

THERE'S GOING TO BE THAT SORT
MUCH ABILITY TO -- MAYBE I
SHOULD SAY FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO
BE ABLE TO EARN THE TRUST OF
PEOPLE BY MAKING THIS
INFORMATION PUBLIC.

Jeyan says, NOW, ON TOP OF OCTOBER
TWENTY-SECOND, THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO
PROMISED LATER THIS YEAR TO
INTRODUCE AND ROLL OUT WHAT'S
CALLED A DIGITAL ID.

I WANT TO PUT UP A PHOTO.
AND THIS GRAPHIC IS FROM THE
ONTARIO.CA WEBSITE.

A graphic reads “Verifiable data registry.” Beneath that headline, three arrows point toward it. Text under the arrow on the left reads “Issuer. Generates and publishes key.” Text under the centre arrow reads “Holder. Confirms identity and registers digital ID.” Text under the arrow to the right reads “Verifier. Requests key and verifies digital ID.

Images beneath the text show a building with a check mark beside it. To the right of the building, text reads “issue” with an arrow pointing to the right. An image beside the arrow shows a figure holding an ID over a machine. Text beside the figure reads “Tap/scan/enter” and an arrow points to a screen with a checkmark, a small building and a figure wearing a suit.

Jeyan says, CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT WE'RE
LOOKING AT HERE AND WHAT IS SORT
OF THIS PROCESS?

Justin says, YES, THIS IS PART OF
THEIR TECH PLAN FOR THE DIGITAL
ID WHICH IS AN INCOMING DIGITAL
CREDENTIAL THAT WE’LL HAVE.
THIS IS ANOTHER TOOL THAT'S
GOING TO BE OPTIONAL.

BUT THE WAY IT WILL WORK IS THAT
THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO
ISSUE SORT OF A KEY THAT WILL
CONNECT TO A PERSON'S IDENTIFICATION.

SO LET'S SAY THEIR NAME,
ADDRESS, ALL OF THAT.

LIKE YOU WOULD HAVE ON YOUR
DRIVER'S LICENCE.

A PERSON WILL BE ABLE TO APPLY
IN ORDER TO GET THAT KEY AND
THAT INFORMATION WHICH THEY'LL
BE ABLE TO THEN STORE ON A DEVICE.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN THEIR DIGITAL WALLET.

AND THEN THERE WILL BE A WAY FOR
BUSINESSES OR FOR GOVERNMENT
INSTITUTIONS TO BE ABLE TO
VERIFY THE ID AND ACTUALLY
DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A
PERSON IS WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE.

Jeyan says, NOW, YOU'VE TALKED
ABOUT THIS IN YOUR ARTICLE FOR
TVO.ORG.

Text reads “Will Ontario digital identification be safe? Privacy Concerns.”

Jeyan continues, BUT I IMAGINE, YOU KNOW, THIS IS
GOING TO BE PHONE-BASED.

AND I CAN IMAGINE A NUMBER OF
SCENARIOS WHERE PEOPLE MAY FEEL
RELUCTANT TO SHARE THEIR PHONE
WITH SOMEONE.

Justin nods as Jeyan speaks.

Jeyan continues, I CAN THINK OF MAYBE BEING
PULLED OVER BY POLICE AND
PASSING THEM YOUR PHONE FOR
DIGITAL ID AND THEN ALL OF A
SUDDEN DOES THIS POLICE OFFICER
HAVE ACCESS TO MY PHONE.

WHAT ARE YOU HERRING FROM
ONTARIANS ABOUT SORT OF, WITH A
DIGITAL ID, WILL THEY FEEL SAFE
ABOUT THEIR INFORMATION BEING
KEPT PRIVATE?

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler. Hamilton-Niagara Hub Journalist.”
“Will Ontario digital identification be safe? Privacy Concerns.”

Justin says, THIS IS ANOTHER ONE
OF THOSE THINGS WHERE IT REALLY
DEPENDS ON THE SCENARIO.

THAT EXAMPLE YOU BROUGHT UP OF A
POLICE OFFICER. I SPOKE WITH
PROFESSOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA,
AARON MORROW, AT BROCK UNIVERSITY
WHO HAS EXPERTISE IN PRIVACY.
AND HE SAID THIS IS SOMETHING
THAT WOULD REALLY WORRY HIM.

Text beneath Justin reads “Justin Chandler @mr_lois_lane”

Justin says, THIS IDEA THAT I HAVE MY PLASTIC
DRIVER'S LICENCE, WHY WOULD I
RISK OPENING UP MY PHONE TO GIVE
AN OFFICER TO PRIVATE
INFORMATION THEY KEEP IN THERE.

I ASKED THE GOVERNMENT ABOUT
THIS. THEY SAID IT'S STILL UNDER CONSULTATION.
THEY DON'T YET KNOW HOW IT WILL
WORK OR WHETHER YOU HAVE TO
UNLOCK YOUR PHONE OR HAVE YOUR
PHONE LOCKED AND SHOW THAT ID.

BUT THEY'VE ALSO SHOWN
SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN USE THE
DIGITAL ID TO SHOW LESS
INFORMATION THAN YOU OTHERWISE MIGHT.

RIGHT NOW IF YOU GO TO THE LCBO
OR THE BAR AND YOU'VE GOT A
SHOW, THAT MAY HAVE YOUR
BIRTHDAY AND ADDRESS ON IT.
OTHER PEOPLE WOULD RATHER NOT
SHARE THAT.

SO THERE WOULD BE THE ABILITY
WITH THE DIGITAL ID TO JUST SHOW
THAT ONLY THAT YOU'RE OVER NINETEEN
IN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS.
AND YOU DON'T NEED TO SHOW ANY
OF THAT OTHER STUFF THAT'S ON
THE CARD.


Jeyan says, VERY INTERESTING STUFF.

WE SHOULD MENTION THAT THESE
WOULD NOT REPLACE TRADITIONAL
GOVERNMENT IDS LIKE YOUR
DRIVER'S LICENCE OR YOUR PHOTO ID.

JUSTIN THANK YOU SO MUCH
SOMETHING WE WILL CONTINUE TO
FOLLOW. REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

Justin says, YOU'RE WELCOME.

Text beneath Justin reads “Will Ontario digital identification be safe? Produced by: Carla Lucchetta. @carrletta” “Ontario Hubs.”

“Ontario Hubs are made possible by: The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman.”

Watch: Will Ontario Digital Identification Be Safe?