As COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across the globe, more restrictions on air travel are being imposed. The importance of the industry on global business and tourism is indisputable both for the public and private sectors.
While many countries have blocked incoming flights, it is inevitable that these strict policies are going to gradually transform into a system that incoming passengers will be obliged to prove their health status. Therefore, a global standardized COVID-19 immunity certification will be asked before boarding.
What it does
Our solution enables cross-border collaboration in population transit, mainly in the aviation sector, by bringing together the key stakeholders: airlines, airports, health organizations, as well as, other involved parties from the private and public sectors.
More specifically, the CovIDpass will implement a privacy-preserving and secure mechanism for the issuance and validation of the COVID-19 immunity certificate of citizens, enabling their mobility across different countries.
The solution will involve:
- Health organizations that will be able to execute the process towards virus immunity and issue the COVID-19 immunity certificate with an expiration time based on the virus immunity duration.
- Citizens that will be provided with an encrypted QR Code based on blockchain infrastructure.
- Airlines that will be able to scan the encrypted QR code, decrypt the information, and verify the validity of the information, as well as the validity of the certificate itself through the blockchain infrastructure.
Aviation frees us from the limits of geography, distance and time. Aviation is the business of freedom. —International Air Transport Association (IATA)
This seems totally contradictory in comparison with the moments that humanity is going through the last 3 months. At the moment, more than 4 billion people are being ordered to stay home by their governments. The moments are unprecedented for the whole of humanity. The rapid spreading of COVID-19 across the globe leads to the enforcement of severe restrictions on aviation. The vast majority of flights are being canceled since the risk factor of disease spreading is extremely high.
Today humanity is going through the worldwide public health crisis. Once the disease crisis wanes, another major challenge will rise:
- What will be the factors that will lead us back to regularity?
- What will be the factors that will allow us to travel safely?
CovIDpass aims at providing the solution to the challenge of safe air traveling by offering the infrastructure to certify, verify and validate the COVID Immunity of the passengers, allowing them to enter the plane and travel, by an objective and indisputable fashion.
The major medical enablers of the whole process are a) the serological testing and b) the vaccination. The serological testing constitutes a type of blood test that looks for the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system against SARS-CoV-2. The presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 ensures the immunity of the subject. The immunity will also be ensured through the vaccination that will be performed once the specific vaccine will be produced.
The medical organization (public or private) that will execute the process towards virus immunity will be able to input the specific information in CovIDpass platform. CovIDpass will store the information in blockchain infrastructure, as well as produce on-the-fly an encrypted QR code that will be sent to the subject. The encrypted QR code will contain the unique identifier of the subject, as well as the certified immunity result.
The electronic immunity certificate will be stored in the mobile of the end-user as an electronic card. Once the subject needs to travel, they will have to present the specific certificate to the ground handler controllers alongside with the boarding pass and the passport. The ground handling controller will be equipped with the CovIDpass QR scanner that will be able to scan the encrypted QR code, decrypt the information and verify the validity of the information, as well as the validity of the certificate itself through the blockchain infrastructure.
Thus, CovIDpass infrastructure will engage the various stakeholders, as well as provide them with the technological means to operate towards the air-traveling safety in the post-COVID era.
How we built it
CovIDpass software infrastructure incorporates:
- A web application (built with Spring-Boot technology) that will enable Health Organizations stakeholders, that is responsible to execute the medical process towards virus immunity verification, to issue the COVID-19 immunity digital certificate with an expiration date taking under consideration the virus immunity duration;
- A blockchain infrastructure (deploying and utilizing the Hyperledger Fabric) in which the platform will store and maintain the encrypted QR Code of the Immunity Certificate. CovIDpass blockchain infrastructure is responsible to answer to all requests for verification of immunity of passengers coming from authorities in aviation ecosystem. A “valid” Immunity Certificate will allow the boarding of the passenger alongside with the traveling documents;
- A mobile application (built both for Android and iOS devices) that will enable the Aviation Authorities stakeholders (ground handlers, airlines, border controls) to scan the encrypted QR code, decrypt the information, and verify the validity of the information, as well as the validity of the certificate itself through the blockchain infrastructure, allowing the passenger to board safely.
Challenges we ran into
In the case of CovIDpass, several challenges had to be taken under serious consideration due to the fact that the platform incorporates the movement and verification of personal data. Thus, we ran into the following challenges:
- The Medical Professional that inputs the personal data of the Citizen into CovIDpass in order to generate the Digital Immunity Certificate should be strictly authorised;
- The generated information had to be stored and transferred in a way that would ensure complete privacy;
- The data of the Digital Immunity Certificate should be stored in a highly-secure, immutable and indisputable fashion;
- The QR code that is stored or printed and provided to the citizen, should be protected against unwanted scanning that would lead to data breach;
- CovIDpass should be implemented in such a way that should ensure its interoperation with existing 3rd party repositories or solutions in order to ensure its smooth operation;
- The technologies to be utilised should ensure its scalability and performance by design; and
- CovIDpass infostructure should be replicable and deployable in order to support its expansion on a worldwide scale.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
In the frame of CovIDpass platform design and implementation, we managed as a team to:
- Create the appropriate infostructure in terms of privacy and security to generate and manage sensitive personal information;
- Deploy the required blockchain infrastructure so as to store and validate the Digital Immunity Certificate through a decentralised and indisputable way;
- Ensure a) the interoperability with third party applications and repositories, b) the expandability so as to include additional types of certificates or any type of documentation that might be required by medical protocols and c) the scalability readiness so as to facilitate CovIDpass cross border deployment and operation;
What we learned
Our experience in building CovIDpass platform gave us the opportunity to incorporate a wide set of technologies by creating a multi-person team, in order to work and create under strict time limits and pressure to deliver an operating prototype.
What's next for CovIDpass
CovIDpass team will continue to work eagerly so as to put the platform on operation. The days after the hackathon, the team will finalize the software components and deploy it on an operational mode. The technical scale-out is foreseen and already ensured by the technologies that have been utilized. The business scale-out requires the acceptance of regulatory stakeholders so as to put such an infrastructure in use. We plan to initiate discussions with Greek authorities, in order to present our solution and promote CovIDpass deployment at National and International level.