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24.09.2021 Europe

Suspects behind Macron's QR data leak 'identified'

By David Coffey with RFI
Getty Images - japatino
LISTEN SEP 24, 2021
Getty Images - japatino

French officials have identified health workers suspected of leaking the vaccination status and personal details of President Emmanuel Macron. 

The details of Macron's "health pass" – a QR code that acts as proof of vaccination or immunity and allows access to cafes and cultural life – had recenlty been shared on social media.

The pass also showed the president's full name and date of birth.

The data breach came after a similar mishap befell Prime Minister Jean Castex earlier this month, although his pass was snared using different means.

The national health insurance agency CNAM said the health professionals who had abused their access to Macron's details had been "identified" and they would now be referred to their oversight body for possible sanctions.

Negligence of malevolence?

A presidential official who asked not to be named confirmed the authenticity of the health pass, saying health professionals had consulted the president's vaccine file and circulated the data "either through negligence or malevolence".

All health professionals have access to the centralised computer system set up as part of the vaccination campaign, the official said.

Castex's QR code was shared on social media last week after internet users managed to scan it from a press photo where the premier was seen presenting his health pass.

Both Macron and Castex have since been given new QR codes.

The presidential spokesman said any citizen whose health pass had been leaked in this way could obtain a new one. 

On 21 July, France made the health pass compulsory for access to cafés, restaurants and other services, on the orders of Macron.

Despite weeks of protests by opponents who consider it a violation of civil liberties, the pass is widely seen to have been a success, becoming an accepted part of daily routine and helping to nudge the number of first-jabbed in France above 50 million.

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