Australia’s international vaccination certificate is the “gold standard” in security and sets a benchmark for digital government services going forward, according to Verizon Asia-Pacific regional vice-president Robert Le Busque.
More than 1.3 million people have downloaded a Covid-19 vaccination certificate to their passport in the first month since the service was launched by the federal government.
This is done through a QR code linked to an individual’s Australian Immunisation Register Covid-19 vaccination status, which can then be validated by Immigration authorities around the world.
Australia’s certificate adheres to the International Air Transport Association Travel Pass and meets the new global standard specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and World Health Organisation guidance, making it recognised in most countries.
Verizon Business was brought in by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Passport Office to help roll out the secure digital signature platform underpinning the passport certificate last year through the whole-of-government telecommunications marketplace.
Verizon assisted with implementing the secure technology over the course of three months late last year, Mr Le Busque said.
“The key aspect to this project was the speed with which we had to implement it – the entire project was done in less than three months,” Mr Le Busque told InnovationAus.
“It was done last year when there were well-broadcast supply chain issues, and it’s a highly specialised area of technology. We needed to ensure we had access to the right resources and capability to do the work.
“This is a great example of partnership, and of the government being able to react and respond quickly when needed.”
The vaccine certification is based on the Visible Digital Seal technology, and is secure as the ePassport, making it difficult to forge and preventing unauthorised access.
The keys are certified using the Australian Country Signing Certification Authority, which is managed by Verizon and accredited under the Australian Gatekeeper framework.
“That’s the gold standard for credential management. The elegance of this solution is something to highlight,” Mr Le Busque said.
“Digital certificates themselves are seen as the gold standard of security. It’s all about securing privacy and those credentials so people can feel confident when they travel. It’s the same way as they carry a passport that has the ePassport chip in it today.”
This project sets the benchmark for how governments should approach the digitisation of government services, in terms of security and usability, Mr Le Busque said.
“This is only the beginning. Imagine trying to get through the pandemic in the last two years without a smartphone. The opportunity for these digital services to create frictionless movement for citizens has really matured and come to the fore in the last two years,” he said.
“It’s a great example of government reading and responding to changed circumstances, and we were happy to work on it as a partner.”
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