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Linux Foundation Public Health Creates The Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN)

Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) announces the launch of the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN) to facilitate the safe and free movement of individuals globally during the COVID pandemic. GCCN will establish a global trust registry network that enables interoperable and trustworthy exchanges of COVID certificates among countries for safe reopening and provide related technology and guidance for implementation. The effort is initially supported by Affinidi, AOKPass, Blockchain Labs, Evernym, IBM, Indicio.Tech, LACChain, Lumedic, Proof Market and ThoughtWorks, who have implemented COVID certificate or pass systems for governments and industries. LFPH will work with them to define and implement GCCN.

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With the go-live of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate), the lack of a global trust architecture and ready-to-deploy tools to build compatible systems in other countries could not be more clear. LFPH is launching GCCN to address this gap, with an initial focus on safely reopening borders between EU and non-EU countries. It follows and operationalizes the Interoperability Blueprint (the “Blueprint”) of the Good Health Pass Collaborative (GHPC), an industry coalition that has defined principles and standards for COVID certificates. LFPH has co-led the process drafting the Blueprint, which was released on Monday for a period of public review.

Eva Kaili, MEP and Chair of the STOA Panel of the European Parliament shared: “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. The Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament (EP) is looking into the challenges that the pandemic has introduced, and also we explore potential technological solutions and their impact based on scientific data, credible sources of information and the respect of the European values. I look forward to the next steps of the LFPH that could provide us with more ideas and insights on strategies that enhance the use of a certificate in a safe way, and also to provide further technical options for the EU that could be adopted and could help and enable our system to work in a harmonised way. As soon as we achieve that, then we could immediately share the methodology to connect with the rest of the world and move to the new normal of our post COVID digital era, always in respect of the European charter for human rights and the regulation for privacy and personal data.”

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GCCN’s trust registry network will enable each country to publish a list of the authorized issuers of COVID certificates in that country that can be digitally verified by authorities in other countries. This will effectively bridge the gap between technical specifications (e.g. W3C Verifiable Credentials or SMART Health Card) and a complete trust architecture required for safe reopening. The use and impact of the network will be far-reaching as the world needs transitive trust more than ever.

“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, General Manager for Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity at the Linux Foundation.

GCCN will support Global COVID Certificates (GCC) that apply to three use cases: vaccination, recovery from infection, and test results. These certificates can be held and shared in both paper and digital formats. Participating governments and industry alliances will specify the type(s) and format(s) of COVID certificates they issue and accept, allowing for flexibility but also harmonization. The GCC schema definitions and minimal datasets will follow the recommendations of the Blueprint, as well as GCCN’s technical and governance documents, implementation guide, and open source reference implementations, which will be developed in collaboration with supporting organizations and the broader LFPH community.

The GCCN community will offer peer-based implementation and governance guidance to governments and industries as they start to implement COVID certificate systems. This includes how to build a country/jurisdiction-level trust registry and other related infrastructure, and how to leverage GCC to incorporate existing ecosystems into a national or jurisdiction-level infrastructure.

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