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COVID passport apps - they may be legal, but are they safe?

Cybersecurity expert Leeza Garber joined The National Desk Friday morning. (SBG)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - New York and Las Vegas are among the first places in the U.S. to utilize vaccine verification apps to show proof that you’ve been vaccinated. But what other kinds of data can these apps collect?

“Because this is still a trial experimentation period, we have yet to see exactly what data will be collected around the United States,” said cybersecurity expert Leeza Garber to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “In New York and in Vegas, they're looking at whatever paperwork you were asked to upload in order to confirm that you either had a recent negative COVID test or that you actually got vaccinated. That paperwork could include your name, address, date of birth.”

According to Garber, the question is what other data may also come up - and how is it being protected and regulated?

“It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” said Florida Governor Ron De Santis. “You're going to do this, and then what, give all this information to some big corporation?”

But for states and businesses to require proof of vaccination is completely legal, according to Garber.

“The Supreme Court has ruled in the past, and so have state governments, that proof of vaccination is completely acceptable in certain situations, usually if there's a public health crisis,” said Garber. “People are not going to go around forcibly jabbing you in the arm to get the vaccine, but you may be forced to not participate in certain activities, especially in entertainment venues, maybe potentially restaurants and other storefronts. Employers completely have the right to say their employees have to get the vaccine.”

But this has huge privacy implications, says Garber.

“If you look back in history, there have been some major data breaches especially related to health care information,” said Garber. “These COVID vaccine passports ... it’s not regulated, there’s no standard yet, and it could be very problematic.”