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Verifiable Credentials and Covid-19 Certificates

Crossword, Verifiable Credentials Ltd (VCL) - a University of Kent spin-out company and part of the 2019 CyberASAP cohort - and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust have been working on a trial of COVID-19 vaccination certificates using VCL’s verifiable credentials application independent middleware, Identiproof

Jake Holloway, Chief Product Officer of Crossword said, “we think that this collaboration will not only prove the case for using Identiproof in the NHS and helping to normalise society, but also lay the foundations for VCL to become a successful commercial venture and a great showcase for UK Cyber Security start-ups coming out of Academia!”

InnovateUK awarded funding to support the trial to create a local system that allows NHS testing laboratories in East Kent to issue Covid-19 immunity certificates to individuals to hold securely on their smartphones, and for selected organisations to check the validity of those certificates when presented to them wherever they are, without compromising any unnecessary personal information.

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VCL’s statement at the time of the Grant Award said:

“We’re all looking forward to the day when a Covid-19 vaccinations are available to everyone, in order to save lives and get life back to normal.  But it won’t be an instant process and there will be a potentially long period during which people will sometimes need to prove (for example, to employers and public or hospitality industry venue managers) that they have either received a vaccination, or been positively tested for antibodies from a previous infection.

It’s hugely important that such certification is secure, trust-worthy and verifiable by those who need to check them at places of work, or hospitality venues.  It must above all ensure the privacy of the individual certificate holder and allow them to prove immunity, without compromising other personal data such as their date-of-birth, or home address.

Together they will create a local system that allows NHS testing laboratories in East Kent to issue Covid-19 certificates to individuals to hold securely on their smartphones, and for selected organisations to check the validity of those certificates when presented to them wherever they are, without compromising any unnecessary personal information.  VCL and Crossword will lead the work on the longer-term commercialisation of the system demonstrated during the trial.”

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Identiproof is a Zero Trust Architecture, being an implementation of the W3C Verifiable Credentials Data Model, together with VCL’s own W3C Web Authentication (FIDO2) compatible protocol.

An East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “This is a good example of local innovators working with local NHS organisations to develop innovative ideas. Being able to show you’ve received a COVID vaccination may help our society get back to normal.”

David Chadwick, CEO of Verifiable Credentials said “Our easy to use and administer Identiproof middleware provides all the benefits of a zero trust verifiable credentials infrastructure, whilst removing all the burden of running blockchain and DID infrastructures, as we utilise FIDO2, which is a W3C standard and a feature of most modern smartphones.”

If you are involved in Cyber Security or Risk research and want to learn more about how Crossword can work with you, please contact us.

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