Pods and DLT technology to provide Covid-19 immunity certification while preserving privacy

A system of credential verification, a pod developed by Tim Berners-Lee and Distributed ledger technology, or DLT, is being engaged as a way to provide certification of Covid-19 immunity while preserving privacy.

When Tim Berners-Lee developed a method of holding data in a way that optimises privacy using pods in a system called Solid he was surely not thinking about a deadly pandemic.

Now a team from Open University say they are developing a way for people who have been certified as being Covid-19 immune to prove this while preserving privacy. The system combines the Berners-Lee Solid Pod system with Verifiable Credentials  and a blockchain or DLT system using Ethereum.

The system will mean that an individual being tested for Covid-19 immunity could have the results hashed and sent to the DLT. Then when they need to prove this immunity to a third party, that third party will be able pull down the certification and no other unnecessary information.

A paper published by the OU team explained: “Personally identifiable information is only stored at the user’s discretion, and the app allows the end-user selectively to present only the specific test result with no other personal information revealed.”

Professor John Domingue, director of the Knowledge Media Institute, said: “Like many researchers, the OU’s blockchain team have been highly motivated to contribute to resolving this global pandemic. We’ve been looking at how our existing technology could be repurposed to aid immunity certification.

“Our app, building on several years of research into decentralised certification, is readily scalable, applicable generically, and waiting in the wings for immunity testing to be in full effect.”

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