Health Identity News

Global COVID Certificate Network to enable interoperable COVID-19 health passes

covid health credentials certificates

Today the Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) unveiled the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN). While many COVID-19 initiatives target digital health credentials, most are regional, presenting a challenge for international travel. GCCN aims to address this interoperability issue by creating a global trust registry network.

A registry will help people who need to verify health certificates, for example, to check that the certificate issuer is a recognized laboratory. GCCN’s initial members are AffinidiAOKPassBlockchain LabsEvernymIBMIndicio.TechLumedic, and ThoughtWorks, which have all developed COVID-19 solutions for governments and industries.

This latest initiative helps implement the draft Blueprint from the Good Health Pass Collaborative published yesterday. As we noted at the time, imagine being an airline check-in person who has to verify the wide variety of certificates presented to them. How can they know which ones are valid, especially if the traveler is from abroad?

While it’s essential to validate that COVID certificates are real to save lives, these certificate schemes will have a massive impact on the future of decentralized identity. Hence it’s important to ensure that the minimal possible amount of data is shared and best practices are put in place at the start.

“The first wave of apps for proving one’s COVID status did not allow that proof to be shown beyond a single state or nation, did not avoid vendor lock-in, and did not distinguish between rich health data and simple passes. The Blueprint gives this industry a way to solve those issues while meeting a high bar for privacy and integrity, and GCCN turns those plans into action” said Brian Behlendorf of the Linux Foundation. 

The initial focus of the network will be to enable interoperability between EU and non-EU countries, with the technical launch of the EU Digital COVID Certificate last week. The Certificate is meant to be available in all EU states by July 1.

“We are interested to learn about how LFPH is taking bold steps in creating the Global COVID Certificate Network in order to facilitate trust building and interoperability for safe borders reopening, since it still seems that there are many challenges and barriers to overcome, for example the need for a European eID agreement,” said Eva Kaili, MEP.

A health credential or certificate might prove that a person has been vaccinated, tested, or recovered from the virus. The GCCN will support all three, and like the draft Blueprint supports both paper and digital certificates.

In addition to this project, the Linux Foundation is also home to the COVID Credentials Initiative and Trust over IP Foundation, which both provide help for developing COVID solutions.

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