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Linux Foundation unveils COVID Certificate Network

The foundation hopes the controversial idea will be used internationally.

The Linux Foundation, historically known for its support of openness, freedom, and privacy, has ironically been developing a global COVID-19 vaccine certification system, which is almost ready for deployment.

COVID-19 vaccine certification, aka a vaccine passport, is already being used in many countries and regions, pushing aside the legal, ethical, and privacy concerns.

The Linux Foundation has decided to take the lead to create a system that works across countries and regions. Its public health wing, the Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH), is ready to deploy the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN).

The system is being developed by LFPH, in collaboration with other industry experts, including IBM and Blockchain Labs. GCCN says it solves the problem of the lack of a trustworthy vaccine certification system, that can be used to build certifications that can be easily verified in other countries and regions.

For example, the EU has created a certification architecture to be used by member states. However, their system might be incompatible or fail to recognize certification systems created in non-EU countries.

“For health passes to work globally, helping countries to restart economies and reopen borders, they need to be trusted globally,” said VP of Emerging Business Networks at IBM Watson Health Eric Piscini.

“Through the Global COVID Certificate Network, Linux Foundation Public Health is working to address this challenge by bringing together a network of trusted and interoperable Trust Registries, so that the holder of a certificate can use it whenever they need and wherever they are. IBM is excited to collaborate with Linux Foundation Public Health on this important initiative at this critical time in our history.”

Once it is complete, the GCCN will enable any country or government to list authorized COVID certificates issuers, making it easy for authorities in other countries to verify certificates.

“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,” explained Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Healthcare General Manager Brian Behlendorf. “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.”

Both the EU and United Nations (UN) are considering the GCCN.

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