CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s new Vax Verify portal is supposed to make proving vaccination status easier, but days after the launch, we’re still hearing the information is wrong. Now experts tell CBS 2 it’s worse than we thought.
CBS 2 is still waiting on another update from the state, which so far has said that residents will need to contact their vaccination provider in order to update any information in the portal.READ MORE: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
The portal is worrying some experts, especially when compared to other states.
“I would say it’s one of the worst ones in terms of initial barrier to entry,” said Alexis Hancock, the director of engineering for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Hancock reviews these kinds of vaccination record portals across the country.
So does Brian Linder, an emerging threats expert with the cybery security firm Checkpoint Research.
“It’s actually a terrible idea,” he said. “Now you’re going to have tons of people who are more worried about vaccine passports and not worrying about protecting their credit, which is a big hole.”
Both agree that Illinois’ use of the consumer credit reporting company Experian for identity verification on the state’s new Vax Verify portal opens users up to potential fraud.
“In New York and California and Louisiana, you can just provide the information that you have on your CDC card, the one who issue when you got vaccinated,” said Hancock.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Sprinkles And Cooler Than Normal Temps Through The Weekend
They worry in particular becuase it requires the user to at least temporarily unfreeze their credit.
“What percent of people are going to either remember to do it, forget to do it, remember to re-enable it?” said Linder.
CBS 2 is still waiting for an explanation from the state about why some vaccinated users on the site are finding no record of their vaccination status on the portal. At last check a spokesperson said they are still looking into the issue, but users should contact the pharmacy or hospital that administered it with questions.
“Assuring that it’s accurate becomes incredibly important,” said Ed Yohnka with the ACLU of Illinois.
He agrees that these questions to the state are important.
“There is a real need for these systems to be number one, accurate and number two, secure because, after all, we’re sharing information about our health and about our medical status,” he said. “So therefore having some vehicle for protecting our privacy is critically important at the same time.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health did provide a support email for viewers who get the “no records found” message on the portal, but they note that portal support “cannot change records or update demographic/contact information.”
Right now it’s too early to tell which state or city is having the most success, but neither expert was aware of an identity verification program quite like Illinois’ so that sets us apart.MORE NEWS: City Council Finance Committee Approves $76.5 Million Property Tax Hike, As Mayor Lori Lightfoot's 2022 Budget Plan Passes First Test
Vax Verify can be found at https://idphportal.illinois.gov.