Good Health Pass Collaborative Releases Draft Blueprint for Digital Health Passes in Advance of G7 Summit
In an effort to restore global travel and restart the global economy, the Good Health Pass Collaborative announced the release of the eagerly-anticipated Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint.
The Blueprint – released in draft form for a three-week period of stakeholder consultations and public comment – is intended to stimulate discussion at the G7 Summit, which will open Friday in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK.
This announcement follows on a May 18 letter, sent by the Good Health Pass Collaborative to G7 leaders, urging them to adopt a statement of principles for digital health passes. The letter also called for the formation of a working group – composed of senior ministerial staff from G7, G20, and European Union health and transport ministries – with the task of reaching international consensus on standards by July 16.
Unprecedented global collaboration – between governments, nonprofits, universities, and the private sector – propelled the rapid development and distribution of highly effective COVID vaccines. A similar level of collaboration is urgently needed to ensure that verifiable digital health passes for international travel can be issued and universally accepted worldwide by airlines, border control agencies, and others.
Most governments already require proof of travelers’ COVID status – either through a recent negative test or, increasingly, proof of vaccination– as a precondition of entry. While dozens of solutions have been rushed to market to meet this growing demand, they vary greatly in the extent to which they protect user privacy and security and enable individuals to control access to their personal health information.
The absence of internationally-recognized, consensus-based open standards – to which all solutions adhere – could leave individuals uncertain about the security and privacy of their data and even unsure of whether their health pass will be accepted for travel.
“Digital health passes offer our best hope to safely, confidently, and promptly restore global travel and restart the global economy – but only if they are widely trusted and adopted by the public and universally accepted by airlines and border control agencies,” said ID2020 executive director, Dakota Gruener. “The standards proposed in the Good Health Pass Interoperability
Blueprint will make it possible for digital health pass systems around the world to be interoperable with one another, thus creating a trusted, convenient, and seamless experience for travellers as well as for airlines, airports, and border control agencies.”
Restoring international travel is vital to restarting the global economy. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that 61.6 million tourism-related jobs worldwide have been lost as a result of the pandemic. In 2020, travel and tourism contributions to global GDP decreased by 49.1%, a loss of $4.5 trillion (USD), nearly 18 times the impact experienced during the 2009 global financial crisis.
Under normal circumstances, it would take years to develop standards for digital health passes.
In February, ID2020 launched the Good Health Pass Collaborative, a multi-sector, global initiative to establish guiding principles for digital health passes and dramatically streamline the standards development process. Within weeks, the Collaborative grew from 25 partners to more than 125 companies and organizations from across the health, travel, and technology sectors.
Nine “drafting groups”, bringing together more than 120 experts from the health, travel, and technology sectors were managed through a partnership with the Trust Over IP Foundation the Covid-19 Credentials Initiative and Linux Foundation Public Health – all projects of the Linux Foundation.
The resulting Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint addresses – in considerable depth and detail – nine technical and interoperability challenges around which global consensus must be reached:
● Design principles
● Creating a consistent user experience
● Standard data models and elements
● Credential formats, signatures, and exchange protocols
● Security, privacy, and data protection
● Trust registries
● Rules engines
● Identity binding (ensuring the authenticity of the holder)
“This draft blueprint is historic, both in its depth and breadth of proposed standards, as well as the number of expert volunteers who contributed their time to its development,” said Gruener. “When we partnered with the Trust Over IP Foundation, we committed to an open and inclusive process. Releasing the draft for public comment today takes that commitment a step further. We felt this was incredibly important, given the range of public and private entities expected to play a role in the issuance and acceptance of digital health passes and the need to build public trust and support their adoption.”
The UK government – in its capacity as president of the G7 – has identified “leading the global recovery from coronavirus, while strengthening our resilience against further pandemic” as the
highest policy priority for this 47th G7 Summit. International agreement on principles and standards for digital health passes are critical to achieving this policy priority.