BLOK’s CTO, Areiel Wolanow, has participated in the panel at the webinar called “Digital Immunization Certificates: Designing for a New Era in Global Health”, hosted by ID2020. The webinar discussed the development of privacy-protecting solutions for delivering health solutions in times of COVID-19 – including storing proof of vaccination and the ability to create a safe return-to-work, travel, and other social activities.
The recording is now available on YouTube, and you can watch it below:
BLOK Pass and privacy
In the webinar, Areiel highlights the idea behind BLOK Pass, a solution created by BLOK BioScience to tackle these issues:
It takes a full ecosystem to put together an effective Covid response. Having great tests doesn’t help if you don’t know how to deliver them. Having an immunity passport doesn’t help if you don’t have a system for capturing the tests and getting the results. The ability to deliver the tests doesn’t mean anything unless you have an ecosystem of employers, public facing venues who are ready to adopt them.
We felt that having a truly self-sovereign solution was important for some reasons beyond just the fact that it’s self-evident the right thing to do. One is that it was absolute critical as a driver for adoption that people would, and as we have seen have rejected track and trace solutions pandemic management solutions that haven’t implemented those standards.
But the other reason, and the one that I’m hearing more and more from our customers, is that it creates a huge burden for the companies and the governments to adopt a completely new set of PII (personally identifying information). Very very sensitive data that creates risk, and cost, and burden of regulatory compliance. Due to the vastly diminishing cash flow, this is not a level, or a burden, that many companies are prepared to hold.
So yeah, self-sovereignty is critically important because it’s something we believe in, we would never do anything that wasn’t. It’s critically important for adoption. But it’s also a hugely commercial imperative. We need to deliver something that doesn’t create a mountain of cost and a burden that many companies that are already distressed can’t afford to have.
So we looked at a lot of solutions, at what other people were doing. We saw a mix of good and bad solutions in terms of preserving privacy, in terms of the quality of custodianship of data. We saw people doing some very interesting things with blockchain and other DLTs.
We took a different tack, which was the best way to help avoid enabling the growth of the surveillance state, or to create this burden, was not to have this data at all. So what we’ve implemented at BLOK is an interaction framework in which the data never leave the control or the possession of the individual who the data is about.
ID2020 is a global public-private partnership that harnesses the collective power of nonprofits, corporations, and governments to promote the adoption and ethical implementation of user-managed, privacy-protecting, and portable digital identity solutions. Members include Microsoft, Accenture, Hyperledger, the Rockefeller Foundation, amongst many others committed to creating a good, privacy-first identity standard across the globe.