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S. Korean cases will be referred to international workshop on electronic vaccine certificates

By Lim Chang-won Posted : July 14, 2021, 11:30 Updated : July 14, 2021, 11:30

[This screenshot was taken from COVID-19 vaccination authentication app COOV]

SEOUL -- As digital vaccine passports are set to become a prerequisite for travelers to show the digital proof of COVID inoculation, international experts are working on how to facilitate the recognition of vaccination records, prevent forgeries and protect personal information. The European Union has worked out guidelines on a common design of digital certificates that can be stored on a mobile device.

South Korea's public and private services related to electronic certificates will be presented as a reference case at a workshop on the international standardization of digital vaccine passports that would be hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized U.N agency responsible for matters related to information and communication technologies.

SK Telecom (SKT), a mobile carrier in South Korea, has developed an electronic certificate management app that shows vaccination information. An app service certifying vaccination has been adopted by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), a state epidemic control center. The two apps would be presented at a meeting in August of Study Group 17 (SG17) of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) that coordinates standards for telecom and information communication technology.

"SKT's solution will be presented at the ITU workshop on digital vaccination certificates on August 11," said SG17 chairman Yeom Heung-yeol, a Soonchunhyang University professor. The workshop is a venue where ITU experts discuss ways to standardize digital vaccine passports and examine existing digital vaccination certificate technologies and services and specify inter-country mutual recognition methods.

At the workshop, Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), a state internet watchdog, will speak about what is necessary to mutually recognize and link the digital vaccination certificate service based on decentralized identity (DID), a blockchain-based identification system that normally generates and gives unique digital identities for individuals. Blockchain is a virtual ledger service that is virtually unhackable.

"We will present KISA's directions on the domestic status, the need for standardization, and the development of digital vaccination certificate services," said Park Sang-hwan, who heads KISA's blockchain promotion section. "We are not announcing SKT's service case itself, but how to increase reliability and compatibility of DID technology and revitalize related industries."

KDCA has introduced AI-based services for automated check-in calls and effective vaccination to alleviate the workload of personnel at vaccination centers and related medical institutions.

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