Apr 15, 2020 - Economy

Company working to develop "immunity passports" raises $100 million

Illustration of a smartphone with a face mask.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Onfido, a San Francisco-based identity verification company, raised $100 million in Series D funding led by TPG Growth.

Why it matters: The company is working with at least one European government to develop phone-based "immunity passports" for those who have already recovered from COVID-19 and tested positive for antibodies.

  • It has not yet spoken with U.S. officials, but CEO Husayn Kassai tells Axios that there have been indirect discussions at both the federal and state levels via partners.

How would it work: The “passports” would be tied to your identity, using facial recognition that would need to reauthenticate between uses (to prevent people from borrowing or stealing phones). But it would be predicated on widespread disbursement of at-home testing kits.

The bottom line: This is a variation on what’s already being done in China. Were it to happen in civil libertarian America, perhaps at the state or local level, Kassai believes it likely would need to be voluntary and done without government access to individual health information.

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