In today world, our identity as a human being is verified by documents and not by just our appearance. A passport holds a person’s identity, helps in traveling in and out of country. It has all the verified obligatory information of the traveler such as photograph, address, date of birth, travel visas, etc. This personal information was all that was required until the pandemic hit the world. The emergence of COVID-19 virus has prompted many governments to put travel restrictions within and across countries and one business that is most affected is the global travel industry. However, with the development of corona vaccines and with further progress on vaccination programs, the world is opening up again and travel is back on the agenda.
Digital Health Passport
In addition to passports it is now mandatory to carry COVID-19 vaccine records and test results as well. This necessitates the create of a ‘Digital Health Passport’ that will make way for hassle-free travel by introducing automation for the verification of vaccine records. A Digital Health Passport (DHP) will help in eliminating the use of physical documents and will enable sharing of e-documents across government agencies. The DHP will store COVID-19 vaccine records, PCR certifications and can even be used to store all other health records that would be useful for doctors in emergencies. A traveler can securely manage personal health data at a single place with ease of sharing capability.
Blockchain technology is known for decentralized & distributed ledger design making it ideal for implementing secure digital assets. When a health record is generated and signed, it can be written into the blockchain, thus providing individuals with a proof and confidence that the record cannot be changed. These personal health records can then be encoded and stored on the blockchain with a private key, so that they are only accessible by certain individuals or government entities, thereby ensuring privacy. The decentralized storage of documents on blockchain fabric network reduces the chances of hacking and manipulation.
Amazon Blockchain Services
Amazon blockchain services helps in creating and managing scalable blockchain networks using the popular open-source Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum frameworks. This is also a cost-efficient implementation as each member in the network is billed for their own resource and data based on pay-as-you-go model. Amazon Managed Blockchain leverages the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database Technology (QLDB) technology to improve the reliability of the Hyperledger Fabric Ordering Service. Also, Managed Blockchain uses AWS Key Management Service (KMS) technology to secure the Hyperledger Fabric Certificate Authority.
AWS makes it simple to use a managed blockchain service via the console, as well as expose it via API so that command line and SDK clients can interact and create these blockchain networks.
Managed blockchain supports two popular open source frameworks – Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum to choose depending on network requirement.
Initial bootstrap member is mandatory for network along with Hyperledger Fabric certificate authority (CA). Fabric CA is used to create and manage members within the network.
Peer nodes are responsible to store a copy of the distributed ledger.
Decentralized applications are created and deployed through peer nodes that remove the interference of centralized authority.
Reference Architecture for Digital Health Passport:
Digital Health Passport on AWS Managed Blockchain
User requests via web or mobile application are transferred to Amazon Managed Fabric network through restful API that connects to the blockchain network through SDK.
As depicted in the diagram, fabric network has multiple members such as Vaccine Center, Government Agency, Airport Authority etc. Depending on the accessibility use case, more members can be added to fabric network to enable access of vaccination records.
These members have their own certificate authority and peer nodes. In each of their respective AWS accounts, members can run their own fabric client nodes to connect and invoke transactions from their respective Ledger’s on the client nodes.
These members entity has its own VPC that contains VPC endpoints to connect to the components that are managed by Amazon Managed Blockchain via VPC private link.
VPC also has fabric client node (EC2 instance) that runs the fabric tools command-line interface to interact with its own fabric network.
Amazon managed blockchain fabric network consists of three main components as below. These components are completely managed by Amazon blockchain service.
Ordering Service – This service is part of the consensus mechanism and it is responsible for taking transactions, ordering, and grouping them into blocks for distribution to the peer nodes.
Certificate Authority – CA generates certificates to sign every action by members. It helps to manage members within the network.
Peer Node – Each member is associated with one or more peer nodes and each peer node will have its own copy of the ledger.
Conclusion – While Governments around the world have introduced measures to contain the virus, eagerness to travel is also recovering rapidly among people. Currently when the travel industry is gearing up for a gradual restart, it is also important to strike a balance between industry guidelines, regulations, and health & wellbeing of passengers. Thus, block chain digital solution for health records will enable to revive the travel economy as after all Travel is not a journey but an experience to live.