From 23rd September onwards, Chinese mainland resumed issuing visas for visitors to Macao. Thanks to the mutual recognition system of Macao blockchain health code and Guangdong health code launched in May, mainland Chinese tourists can apply and use Guangdong health code to verify their health status when entering Macao. Up to date, more than 17 million people have cleared customs between Chinese mainland and Macao using the blockchain system. The average time of receiving, transforming, and generating the health code for the first time is only 100 seconds. And it will only take less than 3 seconds to complete the procedure when traveler clears customs again.
In May, Serviços de Saúde de Macau (SSM) and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) became the first to establish a blockchain-based health code system to fight the epidemic – Macao blockchain health code. It serves as an electronic pass for residents to access public places. It is a coherent part of Macao’s epidemic prevention measures and is later extended to add the mutual recognition mechanism with the Chinese mainland’s Guangdong health code system. Due to the epidemic, Macao suspended tourist visa application in January 2020. The establishment of Macao blockchain health code and the mutual recognition mechanism with Guangdong health code greatly improves the efficiency and accuracy of information verification across borders. It proves to be an effective solution to bring travel between Chinese mainland and Macao back to normal.
Macao blockchain health code is implemented based on China’s open-source blockchain platform FISCO BCOS and WeIdentity for reliable information verification across organizations. Mutual recognition of health codes across jurisdictions has a major challenge to overcome – the information security and privacy protection regulations in both Chinese mainland and Macao. Health authorities in Chinese mainland and Macao need to verify the health information submitted by users crossing the border and yet they are not supposed to exchange data directly with each other to stay in compliance with their corresponding regulations.
The way WeIdentity solution works – IDs and personal health data are encrypted to verifiable digital credentials signed by the issuing authorities and recorded on the consortium blockchain network serving the participating organizations. Users transmit data to the receivers directly via a secured communication channel. Receivers will be able to verify the integrity of the data received by comparing with the corresponding digital credentials as recorded on blockchain. Such a blockchain-based solution on one hand offers a robust data verification mechanisms among trusted parties, while at the same time ensures that the generation and the use of the Macao health code fully comply with the Personal Data Protection Act of Macao. In addition, the mutual recognition mechanism enables the seamless conversion of health codes for the users without the need to fill in personal information repeatedly on different platforms, offering great convenience and ease of use for cross-border travelers.
With FISCO BCOS and WeIdentity, a robust solution is created to overcome the challenge faced by health authorities and border controls around the world and apparently offers an answer on how to enable cross-border travel once again during the time of a pandemic.