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The EU COVID-19 Digital Pass System Is Now Live

(Tech Crunch) – A technical system underpinning the European Union’s plan for a pan-EU ‘digital pass’ for verifying COVID-19 vaccination or test status across the region has gone live today, with a handful of EU Member States connected to the gateway and more expected to follow ahead of a July 1 full launch.

The idea for the EU’s COVID-19 digital certificate is to offer a single system for securely verifying EU citizens’ COVID-19 status — whether vaccination; a recent negative test; or proof of recovery from the virus — as they cross borders within the bloc to help facilitate safer travel.

The digital pass relies upon QR codes and digital signatures — verified using public key cryptography — to prevent falsification. Paper-based certificates can also be used by those who do have access to a device.

Member States that have passed technical tests and are ready to do so can start issuing and verifying certificates on a voluntary basis, the Commission said today — with seven countries (Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland) intending to do so at this point.

Other countries have decided to launch the EU Digital COVID Certificate only when all functions are deployed nationwide, it added. Further details about Member States’ status on activating the system are available via this webpage.

Since 10 May, 22 EU countries have tested the gateway successfully, according to the Commission, which wants maximum update of the system by 1 July — when the associated regulation will apply.

Although it’s allowed a “phasing-in period” of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for Member States that need additional time to get everything hooked up. That means it’s possible the tardiest implementations could happen when summer is all but over. (An earlier goal of EU lawmakers that everything would be up and running everywhere by June always looked ambitious.)

The Commission says no personal data is “exchanged or retained” during the COVID-19 digital certificate verification process, noting that the signature keys for the verification are stored on servers at a national level. These keys can be accessed — via the gateway — by national verification apps or systems all across the EU. Read Full Article >

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