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Out of lockdown with Self-Sovereign Identity

For more than a year, the Corona pandemic has kept the world on tenterhooks. Currently, the uncertainty between rising incidence on the one hand and available vaccines on the other is very stressful for many people. At the moment, no one can predict when contact restrictions will be relaxed to a greater extent and normal life will be possible again, at least in part. The catering industry in particular, but also cultural businesses, hotels and event organizers are already waiting in the wings to be able to continue their work. It seems certain, however, that in a transitional phase relaxations will only be possible under new conditions that apply in addition to the hygiene regulations.

Proof of vaccination and negative corona tests as conditions for relaxations

The federal-state conference at the beginning of March focused primarily on possible relaxations and the conditions necessary for them. The aim of the meeting was to slowly reopen the economy as well as private life and to withdraw restrictions with caution. In addition to new, significantly higher incidence values than before, which are to serve as a guideline for relaxations, a comprehensive testing strategy was presented.

According to the new concept, partial openings of the catering and cultural sectors should also be possible above the incidence limit of 50 infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants within one week. The prerequisite for this, however, is that on the one hand fixed dates are allocated and on the other hand negative test evidence can be presented by the visitors. A negative Corona test must be current for the day and applies in addition to the hygiene requirements already in place. Proof of vaccination is also currently being discussed again and again politically and demanded by some medical experts.

How Self-Sovereign Identity can help with opening up

As the regulations show, a significantly higher bureaucratic effort will be required from traders and cultural institutions in the future. Furthermore, the collection of test as well as vaccination certificates is associated with a greater data protection effort. For most operators of cafés, cultural institutions and event organizers, it would therefore be advisable not to store any health data relating to individuals.

This is where Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) comes in and offers some not inconsiderable advantages. For one thing, no health data is transmitted during guest registration with SSI, only certificates. This reduces the burden on companies, as no sensitive information needs to be stored. Furthermore, service users are free to decide when and with whom they want to share their certificates, which in turn creates trust.

Self-sovereign identity is also better able to respond to new legal regulations. For example, the European Union is currently planning a digital vaccination certificate, which is to be introduced in the summer. This could become a prerequisite for certain offers such as vacation trips, restaurant or museum visits. With the SSI, companies can react quickly to such changes and users can simply store the corresponding proof in the digital identity.

Flexibility will be crucial after the lockdown

The current resurgence in case numbers makes long-term planning impossible, which is why it is essential for companies to be able to adapt quickly. Past experience has shown that the situation can change in a very short time. Currently, privileges for those already vaccinated are controversial, but could be politically implemented in the short term, as has happened with the new testing strategy. For businesses, this means either starting from scratch and adapting to the new situation or relying on existing structures such as guest registration using Self-Sovereign Identity. For cafés, cultural institutions and event organizers, possible proof of vaccination can be integrated flexibly in this way, and for guests this also promises an increase in data protection as well as security for their own identity.