CCI has joined Linux Foundation Public Health!

We have exciting news to share: CCI has a home now!

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When the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) was formed in April 2020, we were a self-organizing group of companies and individuals, held together by a few mailing lists and working groups, to explore how Verifiable Credentials (VCs), an open standard and an emerging technology, could be used for the public health crisis unfolding with COVID-19. Recognizing our limits early on as an informal group, we quickly pivoted from developing a solution together to supporting each other to build for their local contexts. Over the course of nine months, we have seen over 20 projects present their work to the CCI community and developed an MVP governance framework that can be adapted to specific COVID-19 use cases.

As our work evolved and as vaccine development showed promising progress, the need to align efforts around VCs for COVID-19 and educate decision-makers on the use of VCs for COVID-19 became clearer and stronger. However, the limits of not having a formal organizational home hinder us from engaging with key stakeholders and conducting necessary development efforts. So, we began exploring options for a home in summer.

Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) emerged in the middle of the pandemic, right after we started our search. There was a natural alignment between LFPH and CCI on building on open standards to ensure interoperability and developing open-source code bases of minimal-viable privacy-preserving software components to make interoperability easier and cheaper to implement. So here we are today; after achieving success with privacy-preserving exposure notification apps, LFPH officially took CCI in before the end of 2020, kicking off our journey to advance the use of VCs for public health with vaccination record as a start.

At the tail end of holiday spirits, we hope to spread our joy by sharing with you the invitation letter (below in italics) from Brian Behlendorf, the Executive Director of LFPH. You can find the official press release here.

Dear CCI Community,

We are excited to extend this invitation to you to join Linux Foundation Public Health and work together with us to advance the use of Verifiable Credentials and data and technical interoperability of Verifiable Credentials in the public health realm.

Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) was founded in July 2020 as a collaborative effort to combat COVID-19 and future epidemics through building, securing, and sustaining open- source software to help public health authorities (PHAs). We started with exposure notification apps and have achieved success with COVID Green™ and COVID Shield™, which are being deployed in 4 US states and 7 countries around the world. The early achievements were made possible within such a short time frame through our merger with TCN Coalition, a global community promoting privacy-preserving and interoperable exposure notification apps.

As COVID-19 tests mature and vaccines are around the corner, we have identified an increasing demand for responsible and interoperable credentialing solutions to issue and manage COVID-19 credentials, especially vaccine records, from PHAs. Therefore, we would like to work with the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI), supporting you to build on your existing work and enabling open-source development for vaccine records or key components of it, which can be implemented widely by PHAs with the help of the CCI community. We view this as a starting point of a long-term partnership to advance the adoption of verifiable credentials for wider public health use cases, such as patient ID and patient centered information exchange.

At LFPH, we have been following CCI’s work; we value the resources and assets created by the community and the tight relationships you have developed with small, grassroots solution providers. We foresee the scope of our partnership to go beyond open-source software development. The nature of the problem we are solving requires us to build solutions that are interoperable, so we are committed to supporting CCI in leading work around open standards, e.g. definitions and schemas for public health credentials. We also will provide CCI resources to strengthen community and knowledge building, broaden and deepen engagement with key stakeholders (e.g. PHAs, commercial entities, software vendors, relevant identity and technical communities) and conduct public and strategic advocacy.

As the next step, we will join the CCI Group Update call on December 11 from 10 to 11 am ET to answer any questions you have. In the meantime, we plan to commission the following three members of the CCI Community Guidance Team to lead the migration of CCI into LFPH once the community is ready:

- Lucy Yang, Co-Lead of the Coordination and Communications Workstream of CCI

- John Walker, Co-Lead of the Coordination and Communications Workstream of CCI

- Kaliya Young, the Identity Woman, an active contributor at CCI and a super-connector in the credential community. (Kaliya made the initial connection between CCI and LFPH and facilitated the formation of the partnership.)

While LFPH does offer different levels of paid membership for companies and we welcome interested parties to join, membership will not be a requirement for individuals and organizations to participate in any CCI activities. We will strive to respect the community-driven and open nature of CCI to the maximum during migration and onwards, and only leverage LFPH’s structure and infrastructure to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.

This is a strong alignment of efforts between two communities that share the same vision and aspiration. We look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Brian Behlendorf

Managing Director for Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity

The Linux Foundation

Happy New Year! We appreciate your support in 2020 and look forward to working together for a better 2021.

Written by

Supporting projects that use privacy-preserving Verifiable Credentials (VCs) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen our societies and economies.

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