The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, while digital certificates can be created quickly in line with the different technical requirements of defined safety standards, things become more difficult as soon as those certificates leave their country – or even continent – of origin. A global pandemic requires certificates that are valid globally so that a person’s health status can be demonstrated and verified reliably across national borders.
With this in mind, Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) established the “Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN)” project in June 2021. The aim of this project is to ensure the safe and free movement of people around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. After nine months of diligent collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, Symsoft Solutions and Finema, LFPH finalized the prototype for the GCCN Trust Registry Network in March 2022. With this, the research team has now successfully created a complete technology package that complies with the many requirements that need to be met by COVID certificates, such as interoperability, data security and protection of privacy.
Streamlined solutions for trust management on a global scale
Thanks to its expertise in trust frameworks for digital identities Fraunhofer IAO has made a significant contribution to the project while also running rigorous tests on previously developed concepts. The solution was based on Fraunhofer IAO’s Trust Management Infrastructure (TRAIN for short), which includes components for a global trust infrastructure that uses “self-sovereign identity credentials” to verify certification bodies in line with a specified trust formula. “The collaboration with the LFPH team allowed us to research and expand the TRAIN infrastructure for COVID certificate trust management,” says Isaac Henderson, research fellow at Fraunhofer IAO and technical architect on the project. Prior to this work, he demonstrated the suitability of “TRAIN” for a variety of use cases, such as the internet of things (IoT) or Industrie 4.0, and the verification of educational qualifications for refugees. “We believe that TRAIN will be able to provide streamlined solutions for trust management on a global scale for a broad range of public health scenarios. We are looking forward to working on further developing the GCCN Trust Registry Network based on the needs of participants in terms of COVID and beyond,” adds Henderson.
Secure trust network registers certification bodies around the world
With its expertise, Symsoft Solutions offers a model for the management of global, distributed certification bodies through the GCCM Trust Registry Network. The network registers these bodies and uses metadata to enable entries to be accessed and updated in formats that can be read by both humans and machines. The third partner in the association, Finema, brings its solution for verifying different digital vaccination certificates for the Thailand Pass Portal; this was an important factor in reopening Thailand’s borders and promoting global travel. A clear need has arisen for a highly secure global trust network to facilitate the interconnectivity and interoperability of COVID vaccine certificates from different nations, organizations and individuals around the world.