Are digitally encrypted certificates the way forward?

COVID-19 has brought an unprecedented shift in our ability to meet, socialize and interact throughout the world. Almost overnight, we became subject to contact tracing and the need to keep social distance from everyone including family and friends. Since contact of any kind carried the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially as variants multiplied, there seemed little hope of communities, countries and the world being able to reopen. 

As we take the first steps towards the safe opening of different regions, an increasing number of governments are requiring people to provide validated proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or test results. These certifications must be verifiable and linked to official identity documents to travel, gain access to local venues or anything involving social gatherings.

The good news is there’s been significant advances in the ability to digitally link verified vaccination certificates and COVID-19 test results to an individual’s identity. Many organizations and governments are now looking to create a contactless verification process as part of this digital transformation. Additionally, they need something that will prioritize data privacy. As these solutions are developed and rolled out, several important issues have hit the headlines such as:

  • Being able to trust how the data will be used and stored  
  • How to protect against fraud when certificates are often hard copies only and partly handwritten 
  • How to prove the certificate is tied to a specific individual  

In this series, we’ll look at the real-world benefits of digitally verifying credentials. We’ll discuss problems surrounding proof of identity and keeping data safe. We’ll highlight how your customers can have peace of mind knowing their data is encrypted, never stored anywhere other than their own personal device and can only ever be shared with their explicit instructions and consent. 

Using an elegant, safe and user focused smart application that people can use to confidently gain access to venues and travel is the answer.  People need security knowing that despite any requirements to provide proof of vaccination or test results they remain in complete control of their own data and are able to start enjoying life and allowing businesses to thrive again.

After months of lockdowns and restrictions governments are looking for safe ways to gradually open the doors and encourage people to come out of their homes and be social again. However, allowing people to travel and attend events still carries big risks, particularly as new variants spread rapidly. Governments are looking to be able to provide documentary evidence ensuring all travelers and visitors are fully vaccinated or have recent negative test results as a requirement of entry. This in itself brings new challenges. If verification remains a manual process, the individual will need to carry and produce several documents that authorities will then need to scrutinize for authenticity and manually check against the individual’s official identity documents. 

The ability to minimize physical contact, including the handling of passports and vaccination cards, is a critical element in containing a pandemic. If the existing verification processes also include fingerprint scanning and the need to type in a secure PIN on a publicly used device, then this further increases the risks of virus transmission. 

Contactless technology is the key to creating an effective solution. Companies are starting to recognize the need to evolve and offer streamlined processes that embrace digital verification. Digital verification is actually not a new concept; the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web published the Verifiable Credentials Data Model back in 2019 which references digital certification and best practices. The need for safe and secure digital verification of personal identity and certification documents becomes even more critical if we are to address and contain the pandemic.

ShareRing’s solution to the current challenges is both innovative and simplistic. It leverages the immutability of blockchain technology to build the highest levels of security, privacy and consumer trust into a flexible digital verification system.

ShareRing has created a complete ecosystem for the issuance, ownership, and consumption of documents. For both the issuer and the consumer of the document/data, the ShareRing system provides fundamentally greater levels of confidence in the validity of the document. It eliminates the opportunity for fraudulent manipulation of data that’s been uploaded onto the ShareRing blockchain platform. For the user, our independent custom-built blockchain platform is available to anyone with a mobile device. And its no-nonsense interface makes it easy for anyone to use. 

The ShareRing app includes many unique features providing users with a Personal Identification Vault and Health document access. This allows users to safely store and easily share multiple documents, including their COVID-19 vaccination, passport, national ID card and more, in an encrypted format. None of these documents are held centrally and remain only on the individual’s personal device. Our transformative products offer the highest level of security providing reassurance that documents can’t be accessed by anyone without the owner’s expressed consent. Once the documents are uploaded to their personal device a digital “fingerprint” of those documents are stored on the ShareRing blockchain. This means they are not open to hacking and/or personal data theft, as has been the case with many database-dependent systems in the past.

For businesses and operators who wish to consume the data, we have developed an easy contactless digital journey which allows them to use QR Codes scans to request and check the information they require from the individual. This not only streamlines and speeds up the journey, but it also significantly increases the reliability of their checks since the documents will have been uploaded at source and/or verified using face matching and OCR checks. 

The issuer of a document or certificate can be confident that the certificates they are issuing to an individual will not be tampered with or misused by a third party.

Using COVID-19 vaccinations certificates is one example of how our ecosystem works. It also includes actions by: 

  • A vaccination center that will issue the COVID-19 certificate at the point of vaccination. They then send an encrypted digital copy to the user, which only the user can access using a private key. At the same time a digital “fingerprint” or hash of that document will be uploaded to the blockchain.
  • The user who receives the digital copy of the vaccination certificate from the issuer and uploads it to their Personal Information Vault on their mobile device, alongside their OCR and face matched identity document which they uploaded when they created their ShareRing account.
  • A consumer of the data, for example a customs official at an airport or a ticket attendant at a venue, who scans a QR code from the user’s mobile phone which will, with the user’s explicit real-time consent, allow them to see the verified COVID-19 vaccination certificate alongside the user’s ID. The process automatically checks the digital fingerprint on the blockchain. Even if a single pixel of the image has been altered or the document on the user’s device has been tampered with in any way it will be rejected by the system.

Additional, optional features include the ability for an issuer to allow a user to find their nearest COVID-19 testing or vaccination center, book an appointment and prove health status in a private and trusted way. 

With the ShareRing app, you can have confidence that your customer: 

  • ID and accompanying information are valid 
  • Will have the security to travel and access venues and events 
  • Will feel safe knowing their information is always secure 

ShareRing is their contactless and digital way to freedom allowing them to unlock the world. For more information on how you can obtain the ShareRing app to upgrade your business and customer experience more effectively, visit www.sharering.network . And make sure you follow us on our Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blog for all the latest updates and news.

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