Sven Clement demands quick update of CovidCheck app

According to Sven Clement, updating the CovidCheck application is simple. (Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/archives)

According to Sven Clement, updating the CovidCheck application is simple. (Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/archives)

As fake CovidCheck certificates proliferate, several members of parliament, including Sven Clement, are calling for a quick update of the application. 

Mickey Mouse, Adolf Hitler... These are some of the fanciful names that are linked to QR codes to have a falsely valid CovidCheck. They are in fact “real” fakes. For example, in the first type, the QR code is initially real, but linked to a fake identity (e.g. SpongeBob SquarePants): it has been generated via a person in order to obtain it, and then multiplied to be sold with a fantasy name. Other fakes are generated by malicious health practitioners who encode fake health data for real patients. The latter are more difficult to detect, but investigations by the judicial police are underway.

“Fake” certificates are exchanged on the internet, particularly via Telegram. “But also via simple groups that are very easy to find,” explains Piratepartei MP Sven Clement, who was one of the first to sound the alarm.

And he is becoming increasingly confused about the government's wait-and-see attitude. The minister of health Paulette Lenert (LSAP) acknowledged the problem last week, before it was raised in the parliamentary committee, and again last Friday during the press conference following the government council meeting. “But nothing has been done,” he said. “These certificates are not only false, but also fraudulent. Not to mention, of course, that this puts public health at risk.”

No problem with GDPR

He therefore calls for a rapid update of the CovidCheck application, “which is easy to set up, contrary to what people are led to believe. All you have to do is include in a list the QR codes that have been spotted and are known to be fake. As each QR code is linked to a unique identifier, there is no problem in relation to GDPR.”

Sven Clement does not intend to relent in his pressure and vigilance. “I recently reported to the police a case that was circulating on social networks, someone offering a fake CovidCheck. I think everyone should do the same. It's a matter of good citizenship.”

Again this week, he expects the government to take responsibility “and do what is necessary to update this application. If not, I'll keep on coming back. I'm a bit tired of being told everything and anything. It's like with the identity card. We are told that a café owner cannot ask for it for the CovidCheck. However, to check a customer's age and find out if they can drink alcohol, yes.”

Mickey Mouse soon in red

Good news: according to the latest information gathered by Delano's sister publication Paperjam from the minister delegate for digitalisation, Marc Hansen (DP), an update will soon be implemented, banning QR codes that are known to be fraudulent. This is expected to be announced on Tuesday in the digitalisation committee. “From that moment on, Mickey Mouse and others will be in red on the CovidCheck application", said Hansen.

Those who used a CovidCheck with a QR code linked to a false identification, bought under the table, will therefore no longer be able to do so.

In the Belgian province of Luxembourg, a police operation last weekend identified several users of fake health passes. Checks were also carried out on the Christmas markets in Luxembourg City, but no results were released.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.