Digital health passes — often mischaracterized as “vaccine passports” in the popular press — are making headlines as a key component in the drive to restore global travel and restart the global economy after the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enabling individuals to receive and selectively share proof-of-test, proof-of-vaccination, and proof-of-recovery with the highest standards for security, privacy and data protection will allow destination countries and travel systems worldwide to accept credentials from multiple market vendors. But concerns related to equity and access can only be addressed if these health pass implementations are designed to be interoperable.
As the leading global consortium for interoperable digital trust infrastructure, the ToIP Foundation has partnered with the Good Health Pass Collaborative – a project of ID2020 – to host a new Working Group focused on the core issues of interoperability, privacy, and equity for digital health passes. The Interoperability Working Group for Good Health Pass consists of nine drafting groups, each focused on a specific interoperability challenge as defined in the Interoperability Blueprint Outline.
“The Good Health Pass Collaborative is bringing people together to solve a set of problems that affect the entire world,” said John Jordan, executive director of the ToIP Foundation. “This ambitious effort uniquely aligns with the mission of ToIP because it requires interoperable digital credentials that can be accepted and verified anywhere they are needed. Getting this right, and doing so now, will not only make it safe for people to travel again, it will open the door for new tools and services that can solve other challenging problems that also require global-scale digital trust. For these reasons, ToIP is honored to contribute to this urgent global mission by hosting the Interoperability Working Group on behalf of the Good Health Pass Collaborative.”
Each drafting group, consisting of volunteer representatives from around the world representing the health, travel, technology, and policy sectors, will first conduct an intensive 30-day sprint to develop an initial set of draft recommendations. This will be followed by a second 30 day community and public review process to develop a final set of recommendations.
“Digital health passes – If properly designed and implemented – could offer a path to safely restore domestic and international travel, resume certain aspects of public life, and restart the global economy,“ said ID2020 executive director, Dakota Gruener. “Collaboration is critical at this juncture. Our organizations share a commitment to ensuring that digital health passes are designed and implemented in ways that serve the needs of the individuals and institutions that rely on them, while simultaneously protecting core values like privacy, civil liberties, and equity. ToIP has developed a powerful set of tools and models for digital trust frameworks, and we are delighted to be partnering with them in this critically important effort.”
The nine drafting groups collaborating within the new Working Group are:
- Paper Based Credentials will define how a paper-based alternative can be created for any digital health pass so access will be available to all.
- Consistent User Experience will specify the common elements required so that individuals can easily, intuitively, and safely use digital health pass implementations.
- Standard Data Models and Elements will determine the core data items needed across all digital health pass implementations for both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
- Credential Formats, Signatures, and Exchange Protocols will specify the requirements for technical interoperability of Good Health Pass implementations.
- Security, Privacy, and Data Protection will define the safety requirements for Good Health Pass compliant implementations.
- Trust Registries will specify how verifiers can confirm that a digital health pass has been issued by an authorized issuer.
- Rules Engines will define how digital health pass apps can access different sources of policy information to determine what test or vaccination status is needed for a specific usage scenario.
- Identity Binding will specify the options for verifying that the holder of a digital health pass is the individual who received the test or vaccination credential.
- Governance Framework will define the overall set of policies that must be followed for an implementation to qualify as Good Health Pass compliant.
By adhering to the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint that will be synthesized from the outputs of these nine drafting groups, airlines, airports, hospitality industries, international customs officials and others will be able to process visitors easily without requiring additional unnecessary steps mandated by proprietary systems. Travelers will not be confused about which credential they need for each point of verification. Moreover, since individuals will be fully in control of their own personal data in credentials in their own wallets or devices, they can be confident that their private health data is not being tracked or misused.
Interested organizations are invited to join the ToIP Foundation to participate directly in this new Working Group or in the public comment period in May. They are also encouraged to join the Good Health Pass Collaborative at ID2020 to participate in the construction, adoption, and advocacy of the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint.