Over 60 U.S. stadiums and other venues are deploying an app from Clear to verify people’s COVID-19 status, placing the New York company known for its airport security fast lanes at the forefront of a national debate over “vaccine passports.”
Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants and New York Mets are among the first big businesses to demand guests prove they tested negative for the virus or are immunized against it. While the teams welcome paper proof, they encourage downloading records onto Clear's Health Pass feature for convenience.
As with mask mandates, such requirements are under attack from Republican politicians and anti-surveillance activists, as un-American intrusions on civil liberties. They fear businesses will discriminate against the unvaccinated and unnecessarily amass personal data.
Republican governors including in Florida and Texas last month moved to bar some establishments from asking about immunization status, though legal experts say door-checks are lawful to protect public health.
Privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation fears Clear and other passport apps will hold data indefinitely and morph into consumer trackers. Clear said users control their health records.
As a business based on replacing physical IDs, tickets and credit cards with facial or fingerprint recognition, Clear has a huge opportunity in emerging health-check rules that would familiarize more people with its technology.
"Those experiences where you have to prove something about you – if we can help empower the consumer to get through that more quickly - that is our core business," said Catesby Perrin, Clear's executive vice president of growth.
So far, Clear is among coronavirus health app frontrunners, with partners including United Airlines (UAL.O) for its Los Angeles-to-Honolulu flights and the Venetian resort in Las Vegas for conventions it hosts.
With fans anxious to get back to live sports, the Giants said its promotion generated about 6,000 Clear downloads in April. Nationwide, over 70,000 Health Passes are used for venue admission weekly, Clear said, though the app is only starting to verify vaccination status.
PUKmedia \ Reuters