EU approves digital health pass as Linux Foundation launches trust network
The EU COVID digital health pass has been issued to a million people, according to an announcement in European Parliament by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and reported by The Local ahead of the vote which granted final approval to the plan.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was approved by a vote of 546 to 93, with 51 abstentions, according to Euronews. The European Council is expected to grant its rubber-stamp approval ahead of the EU’s self-imposed July 1 deadline to enable travel within the EU.
Implementation decisions, including whether to bind the bearer’s identity to the credential with biometrics, will be up to each member state’s government, whether in the form of national wallet apps or integration into existing solutions, including commercial options. A global trust network was launched simultaneously by the Linux Foundation which could help extend the digital health pass to other jurisdictions, and vice versa (see below).
Reynders has applauded the fast issuance of certificates, expressing concern that a sudden wave of applications on July 1 could overwhelm national systems. Nine countries began issuing the certificates ahead of the vote, with Spain and Croatia joining seven others that had already begun doing so.
Linux Foundation launches trust network for COVID credentials
Linux Foundation Public Health has also launched the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN) to provide countries with a global trust registry for interoperable COVID certificates in support of border reopening efforts.
The GCCN is supported by a group of organizations with significant overlap with the Good Health Pass Collaborative, which the Linux Foundation supports. The Foundation says the GCCN operationalizes the Interoperability Blueprint published earlier this week by the Collaborative, with schema definitions and minimal datasets according to the Blueprint’s recommendations.
The GCCN supports digital health passes proving vaccination, recovery from infection, and test results. Governments and industry alliances will specify the type and format of certificates they issue and accept, which Linux says enables flexibility within harmonization.
“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,” notes Brian Behlendorf, GM for Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity at the Linux Foundation. “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.”
In a blog post accompanying the announcement, Behlendorf said that the lack of global trust architecture and questions about how to build and manage COVID certificate systems were too critical challenges identified by the Linux Foundation and addressed by the GCCN.
The GCCN will provide peer-based implementation and governance guidance for governments and industries, including through the new Global COVID Certificates Implementation Toolkit. The Toolkit also includes a governance framework template, the aforementioned schema definitions and minimum datasets, technical specifications, implementation guides and open source reference implementations.
The Linux Foundation is also building a directory of vendors with competence in related areas.
Liquid Avatar from Kabn, meanwhile, has joined the Linux Foundation Public Health Cardea project as a founding and steering committee member.
Cardea is described as “a complete ecosystem for the exchange of privacy-preserving digital credentials,” and is one of the first projects to provide technology and guidance for GCCN implementations. It integrates with existing health systems to ensure trusted data sources for credentials in a decentralized architecture preserving individual control.
As a member of its steering committee, Liquid Avatar will supply its expertise in real-world decentralized solutions, the company says.
“Linux Foundation Public Health and the Cardea project are leaders at the intersection between public health technology and the open source decentralized identity community,” comments Kabn Chief Business Development Officer RJ Reiser. “By joining the Cardea steering committee, Liquid Avatar brings with it a deep skillset in the commercialization of decentralized identity and a unique position at the forefront of digital ID security and technology. We will focus our efforts at Cardea to help build the diversity of its community, to further grow the project’s capabilities and to further align with Good Health Pass.”
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