COVID Certificate

COVID Certificate Achieved in Record Time

In May this year, the Federal Council instructed the FOITT to develop a system for issuing COVID-19 certificates in time for the start of the summer holidays at the end of June. We managed to fight off 50 competitors – and were able to deliver immediately.

Within a short space of time, our developers, together with the FOPH and private industry, were able to provide a digital, automated solution, comprising a web application for generating certificates, the COVID Certificate app for storing them and the COVID Certificate Check app for checking them. After only three weeks, the first Swiss residents had their COVID Certificate in their hands. Seven weeks later, the system went into production.

Existing IT Components and Experience Make It Possible

The speed wasn't just a fluke: for the development, we used existing IT components, such as the FOITT's tried and tested public key infrastructure (PKI). This base technology allows the COVID Certificate's QR code to be signed electronically and made forgery-proof. Established authentication methods, such as the Federal Administration's CH-Login, are also used to ensure secure access to the system for issuing COVID Certificates.

An added bonus was that, thanks to existing microservices, many of the system components did not need to be developed from scratch. An example of this is the interface to the printing facilities of the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FOBL), which, especially at the beginning, were used for the fully automated printing and dispatch of certificates.

Finally, the FOITT's long years of experience with agile project management stood it in good stead; without it, the project would not have been achievable in such a short time.

Completely Open Source

The system's source code is completely open source and thus accessible – via GitHub – to anyone interested. This doesn't just bring transparency and security for the general public, it also provides other interested countries with the opportunity to use the code for their own certificate solutions. For example, Austria's Green Passport is based on the Swiss COVID Certificate app.