• LFPH extends exposure risk notifications playbook to privacy-driven vaccination credentials by hosting the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative 
  • Brian Behlendorf becomes new LFPH executive director
  • New Public Health Authority commitments and membership investments
  • New open source guidelines for exposure risk notification published

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., December 16, 2020 – Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH), the organization that builds, secures and sustains open source software to help Public Health Authorities (PHAs) around the world combat COVID-19 and future epidemics, today announced it will host the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative, a privacy-preserving Verifiable Credentials (VCs) effort focused on interoperability. It is also announcing new Executive Director Brian Behlendorf, new public health commitments and membership investments and a new set of open source guidelines for exposure risk notifications.

Since launching in July of this year, LFPH has gained new commitments across industries and disciplines and is adding new initiatives to collaboratively address privacy, efficacy and integrity in the software that is helping to prevent and slow the spread of infectious disease. 

COVID-19 Credentials Initiative becomes part of LFPH

The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative is a global community of more than 300 technologists, academics and healthcare professionals from more than 100 organizations working on projects that use privacy-driven verifiable credentials to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Its guiding principles include interoperability, privacy, data protection and inclusion. The community will bring together new open standards work with existing health data standards to ensure vaccine credentials are interoperable and digitally verifiable. 

“LFPH is a natural home for CCI. There is strong alignment on the most urgent matters to address, such as interoperability, privacy and ethics as they related to vaccine credentials. Most importantly, LFPH strives to respect the community-driven and open nature of CCI, which is essential to true collaboration and wide adoption. We look forward to working with LFPH and stakeholders across communities, sectors and industries, especially PHAs, on vaccine credentials for COVID-19 and other public health credentials,” said Lucy Yang, co-lead, COVID-19 Credentials Initiative. 

Open source and digital identity visionary Brian Behlendorf becomes LFPH executive director

Brian Behlendorf will assume the role of Executive Director of LFPH, while carrying on his duties as Executive Director of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project and overseeing a variety of initiatives in blockchain, healthcare and digital identity. Behlendorf was a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation, was the CTO of the World Economic Forum 2011-2012 and worked at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 on advancing the use of open standards through the use of open source software.

“Thanks to the passionate leadership of the late Dan Kohn, LFPH is mobilized to use open source software to accelerate work on combating COVID-19, with an early emphasis on exposure notifications. That work is well underway and already having a very real impact,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “LFPH is now looking toward the future, one where we can help bring diverse constituents together to build, secure and sustain technologies that fight COVID-19 today and other epidemics tomorrow. There is no one more suited to enable this kind of collaboration and to carry on Dan’s legacy with LFPH than Brian Behlendorf.”

“It is an honor to be able to advance the LFPH work that was initiated by the open source hero Dan Kohn,” said Brian Behlendorf, general manager, LFPH and the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger. “There is both a requirement and tremendous opportunity to bring together the world’s leading technologists, scientists, doctors and academics on public health to seek the right balance in privacy and efficacy in preventing and slowing the spread of infectious disease. This is work we know how to do and work we must do.” 

New collaboration and investments

The Health Service Executive Ireland, New Jersey Office of Innovation, North Carolina Department of Human and Health Services and Boston Public Health Commission are the latest PHAs to join LFPH They are the ultimate consumers of the technologies being built by LFPH and so their contributions will dramatically accelerate adoption and innovation. LFPH is also announcing new member MotionMobs and that WeHealth, the company that implements Covid Watch, is upgrading its membership and is now a Founding General Member. Other founding members include Cisco, doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent and VMware. 

“HSE contributed the source code for COVID Green in the summer of 2020. Our goal was to try and help other public health authorities in the fight against COVID.” said Gar Mac Criosta from the Health Service Executive of Ireland. “Membership has brought with it a number of benefits, first and foremost an active and open community all aligned in a fight against COVID-19. I think the engagement so far has opened people’s eyes across government to the benefits of open source, in particular for situations where public trust and confidence is paramount.”

“My choices before LFPH were McKinsey or vendor pitches. LFPH has provided something without financial skin in the game that I can use as a Public Health Authority,” said Mike Flowers, NJ Office of Innovation.

Open source guidelines for risk notifications 

LFPH launched with two hosted exposure notifications projects, COVID Shield and COVID Green, to advance phone-based alerts that people can receive to inform them that they’ve been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. The Exposure Notification System (ENS) provided by Apple and Google has a configurable component, a risk score, which allows health authorities to specify which types or levels of exposures should trigger a notification.

In a series of meetings in November 2020, LFPH and Apple, the CDC, Google and MIT hosted the Risk Score Symposium Invitational to inform the decision-making process for health authorities who are using, or plan to use, ENS in their region. The resulting guidelines are available now

To join LFPH or contribute, please visit: https://www.lfph.io/

About Linux Foundation Public Health

Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) uses open source software to help public health authorities (PHAs) around the world combat COVID-19 and future epidemics. LFPH projects include COVID Shield – being deployed in Canada and Mongolia – and COVID Green, which has been deployed in five countries and four US states. As more projects are contributed, LFPH will expand its scope into software support for all phases of PHA’s testing, tracing, and isolation activities. LFPH is part of the nonprofit Linux Foundation. For more information, please visit lfph.io.


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