Today, LFPH published a letter to Jeffrey Zients, head of the White House’s cross-agency COVID-19 response team, copying many of the other senior leaders in the U.S. executive branch offices leading the vaccination efforts, urging them to lead in the issuance of W3C-defined Verifiable Credentials, and to lead in the coordination of a trust framework to ensure interoperability within the U.S.
This was drafted by participants of the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative, spurred by White House executive orders issued two weeks ago that called for digital credentials to ease re-opening and travel, as well as a mention in the published White House COVID-19 plan for action. W3C Verifiable Credentials are the most basic form of interoperability such efforts should adopt, and any solution in our space should at least use that standard, and use them correctly. But VCs are just the starting point – the TCP/IP, or the URL – of the stack of technologies and trust frameworks that would drive true interoperability. They are also the starting point for a broader engagement we are currently having with public health authorities, technology teams and advocates, and other similar organizations around the need for digital vaccination records and test results.
There are many scenarios calling for their use, from air travel to workplaces and schools to public entertainment. There are many important concerns about equity and access implicit in these scenarios. There are approaches and standards for privacy and security that can reduce the risk of harm from their use. Just as we did with Exposure Notification, we’ll be taking a principled stand on the technology projects we launch in this space. More on this soon.
Meanwhile, CCI is launching a US Vaccine Credentials Focus Group to further identify trusted and scalable ways to meet these needs. We are also actively canvassing for software projects in this domain – please let us know if you would like to discuss this further.