An interesting business idea

These vaccination certificates. Or the NHS app. Or however it is that it’s possible to prove that a double jab has been done.

OK, these are supposed to aid travel. Cool.

Strictly speaking – this is definitely true of Portugal and likely of everywhere else – one in English, one of those proofs, isn’t good enough. It must be in the local language.

Now, I’m guessing here, but I assume that the certificates are electronic? So, devising an app that translates them isn’t going to be hugely difficult. Some combination of a template and running through Google Translate might work.

The point being that an app which does provide – acknowledged to be accurate in some manner – translations of those certificates will find something of an audience.

That’s OK, you can send me a cheque for the idea after you’re raking in the cash.

20 thoughts on “An interesting business idea”

  1. All seems like a waste of time to me. Tourist destinations expecting punters to jump through hoops will quickly find themselves on the wrong end of a revealed preference.

  2. @Roué le Jour
    You’re talking about tourist destinations as if they’re a monolith. The economy where I am is almost totally dependent on tourism. Without it, it’s slowly but surely bleeding out. But there’s a distinct feeling coming off a sizeable proportion of the locals that they’d rather the tourists didn’t return. That are pushing for restrictions like reducing bar opening hours & closing clubs. Despite the relaxation of regs on mask wearing more than 50% of the people I see in the street are still masked. Demographic strongly favours the over 40s & couples with children. This is what you get for a year of government propaganda scaring the pants off the public

  3. Translating them is trivial. Proving validity of a paper certificate is very much harder. Passports and bank notes are the only bits of paper that we can really trust. Similarly any “proof” displayed on a phone screen can very easily be faked.

  4. It is the Issued by Authority bit that is important. In my experience translations of official documents have to be notarised.

  5. @Ottokring
    I’ve had to do a lot of this. Of course one knows the people do the notarised translation don’t actually translate anything. They’ve done hundreds before so they just fill in the blanks. But it still costs a good amount & can take a couple of days.

  6. translations of official documents have to be notarised.

    Oh, great. A whole new field for public notaries to fleece the public in.
    Documents can be saved in dozens of different formats, can embed links to databases, have watermarks, be read only etc etc. So in practice vaccine passports could be secure.

    So it works in practice, but does it work in theory?
    Notaries are all computer illiterate so we’ll have to hire some enormous international IT firm to fuck it up properly.

  7. Random brit etc...

    I think the EU vac doc at least incorporates a digital certificate, signed by suitable CA (wrapped up in that QR code). Assuming the implementation isn’t botched that should be both easy to validate and hard to forge

  8. BiS,
    Few locations are unique. Sitting the beach in Portugal is much the same as sitting on the beach in Spain.

    Your point about Spanish attitudes to tourism is very interesting as we have the same problem here. Thais not in the hospitality business would apparently be quite happy not to have the foreigners back.

    Pattaya is particularly heartbreaking, street ater street of boarded up bars and restaurants. And the worst of it is that it isn’t just about foreigners, resorts have been deliberately closed to prevent domestic tourism and the spread of the disease.

    BTW, we’ve no vaccine. If you get sick, walk it off.

  9. The app is already multi language. For travel they’d just need to make it easier to change it really.

  10. As Random Brit says, the electronic vaccine certificate data is all in clear in a standardised format though coded to minimise its size without losing information. It is then signed by the national authority, in our case the NHS. If foreign airport/Guardia Civil/Gendarmarie have equipment containing the public keys from various national authorities then these QR codes can easily be validated. Technically it’s easy but will no doubt fall down on logistics (many places have no validator) and politics (we won’t let the Brits in).

  11. RT had an item about fake vaccine passports in Russia a couple of weeks ago. Can’t remember the exact amounts being discussed, but for instance, $180 got you an official looking document for your phone, $540 got you added to the official government database of those who had had the vaccine…..

  12. I remember way back in the 1980s the overseas students at my university having a tuberculosis “visa” stamp in their passport. None of this is new, what is new is sometime in the past deciding for some reason *not* to require people entering the country to show they weren’t bringing diseases with them.

  13. Too late Tim I’ve been doing this for six months and it is indeed simple. Unfortunately, as Ottokring and others say, the translation has to be apostilled (not notarised).

  14. My small town in New Zealand was a port of entry for Cruise Ships before the Plague struck. We often had two ships at a time disgorging several thousand tourists onto the streets to be bussed into the neighbouring larger city. As a result of the close down, several of the businesses have shut up shop, but most are managing to carry on catering for the locals. Do I miss them,No . Do we want them back, not really, the money they spent was on tourist tat most of it made in China.

  15. Surreptitious Evil

    Isn’t it strange how we’ve been managing with vaccination certificates for travel for years? I think my yellow fever one is still around somewhere. It never required notarisation, apostillation or translation into the language of the country of entry. Just a date, batch number and the usual illegible signature of administering medic.

    Still, where there’s a rule there’s a grift …

  16. Going to look to cash in on domestic tyranny as well Tim when Bogus Johnson tries it on internal to UK?

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