IdRamp joins Linux’ Cardea as digital health passes evolve and roll out

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IdRamp has joined the Linux Foundation Public Health’s steering committee for its open-source ecosystem for verifiable health credentials.

The Cardea system, along with the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN), was launched recently to provide an ecosystem and global trust registry, respectively, for interoperable digital health passes.

Cardea also meets the technical recommendations included in the Good Health Pass Collaborative’s Interoperability Blueprint, according to the announcement.

“The Cardea and GCCN projects are both excellent examples of breakthrough innovations that can take shape when companies and projects come together to solve real-world problems, using open source tools available to everyone,” comments Mike Vesey, CEO of IdRamp. “We’re excited to offer our experience in the creation of passwordless zero trust ecosystems that will bring diverse ideas and skills into the Cardea community.”

IdRamp will provide strategic leadership for the Cardea project, the company says, and help it encourage decentralized digital identity adoption.

ICAO develops security mechanism

Technical specifications for a visible digital seal (VDS) for use in non-constrained environments has been developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to enable the sharing of test or vaccination records through a 2D barcode, Homeland Security Today  writes.

The signature is based on the same architecture as the ICAO’s public key cryptography, which supports the verification of biometric passports around the world.

ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) issued guidelines for VDS for travel in March, and the new VDS follows the guidelines’ specifications, as well as being crafted with input from the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Expect changes

The situation in the United States is complicated by the often-stark differences between the way different states treat both digital ID and the pandemic itself, as described by the Los Angeles Times.

Digital health passes are currently used for entrance to some business and events, as are vaccination cards issued by the CDC, and paper documents from testing labs.

The article notes the diversity of approaches within the U.S., and trials of digital health passes for international travel, but does not directly address the possibility that millions of Americans will be barred from travelling to most of the world because they have no way of proving their health status in a trusted manner.

Americans may, however, be able to use the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate, MSN reports.

The European Commission has said that member states can issue certificates based on their own authority, which may include issuance to non-national foreign residents. The Commission is currently in talks with the U.S. government, according to the report.

Canada’s CBC writes that with airports at full capacity despite serving only 5 percent of their previous number of passengers, due to additional controls necessitated by the pandemic, the resumption of travel will look significantly different. The difference likely includes adoption of the Known Traveller Digital Identity project, according to the report.

SITA Director for Global Government and Industry Relations Andy Smith writes in a blog post that there is still a substantial amount of work remaining to integrate test results and health status into border control processes.

The company is developing a gateway called Health Hub to allow travelers to share medical information through declaration systems or digital health passes. A high degree of coordination within the industry will be necessary to achieve interoperability of the various schemes, Smith points out. He expresses hope that governments will take an active part in restoring confidence in air travel.

Airports Council International, meanwhile, urged the G7 to support the development and adoption of digital health passes, Asian Aviation reports, and explicitly recognize their role in the interoperability and acceptance of the credentials.

In other countries, identity systems intended to improve accessibility appear to be preventing people from getting vaccinated in the first place.

Nomadic tribes in the Indian state of Rajasthan are largely without Aadhaar or other forms of recognized identification, leading to a lack of vaccinations among them, according to the Times of India.

Less than 1 percent of India’s nomads in the state have been vaccinated, a former government official estimates.

Rollouts continue

Morocco, Italy and Germany are among the latest countries to launch digital health passes.

People in Morocco who have received both vaccine doses can now download a secure document from liqahcorona.ma to share their vaccination status through a QR code on a smartphone or a printout, according to The North Africa Post.

In addition to international travel, the credential allows the bearer to be out past curfew and travel domestically.

Germany plans to roll out the recently-approved EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) by the end of June, Deutsche Welle reports.

Implementation requires PVS, which provides the billing system for healthcare providers in the country, to integrate the capability into its administrative software. Details had not been provided to healthcare practitioners and pharmacies, however, as of June 10, even though they are to be reimbursed €2 to €6 (US$2.4 to $7.3) for each certificate issued, and €18 for each retroactive issuance.

Likewise, The Local reports Italy is beginning its rollout of the digital health passes. It will be required for people to attend events including wedding receptions and christenings from June 15.

The rollout by Germany and Italy will bring the EU to 11 launches of its COVID pass.

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