TCN Coalition

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TCN Coalition
FormationApril 5, 2020; 13 months ago (2020-04-05)
TypeNon-profit organization
PurposeThe TCN Coalition is dedicated to creating privacy-first digital tools to support public health officials in eradicating infectious diseases to minimize lockdowns without endangering communities
Location
  • Global
Key people
  • Jenny Wanger
  • Andreas Gebhard
  • Nele Quast
Websitetcn-coalition.org

The TCN Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the global community around exposure notification (aka digital contact tracing) apps. The TCN Coalition has deep roots in the open-source community and in research and academia[1] and was founded on April 5, 2020 in order to promote the interoperability[2] of a number of COVID-19 apps.[3][4] The initial purpose of the organization was the development and promotion of the TCN Protocol, a decentralized privacy-preserving exposure notification protocol that ensures global interoperability across apps, and to eliminate duplication of work among globally dispersed, independent teams all working on exposure notification apps. The mission later expanded to making TCN Coalition an umbrella organization for all such development efforts, independent of the underlying technical protocol.

Mission

The organization started by focusing on what was initially called "digital contact tracing" applications, though the name later changed to "exposure notification."[5] The key motivator behind these efforts is to provide a globally interoperable technology that can help alert people when they have been exposed to someone who later showed to be infected with a disease such as COVID-19.[6]

As the mission expanded, TCN Coalition became more of an active voice in promoting exposure notification technologies. They have been a voice supporting the usability and downloading of apps[7] and providing public education on what these apps do.[6][3]

TCN protocol

The TCN Protocol is the result of merging the then-existing CEN Protocol and STRICT Protocol with additional input from representatives of other protocols during a working session on April 5, 2020. At the end of a three-hour-long video call, all participants agreed to continue to pool their efforts on the protocol level and to adopt the newly named TCN Protocol for their respective apps. The TCN Protocol was cited by SAP as one of their inspirations for how they built Germany’s Corona-Warn app.[8]

GAEN (google/apple exposure notification) protocol

The announcement by Google and Apple to develop their own exposure notification protocol, embedded into the OS, meant that there were fewer use cases available for the TCN Protocol. Since that announcement, many apps that had been implementing the TCN Protocol have migrated over to GAEN. That being said, TCN welcomed the announcement by Apple and Google to support the global efforts to deploy exposure notification apps.[9]

Founding

The beginning of the TCN Coalition goes back to the TCN Protocol[4], which was formed through the donation of code from Covid Watch and CoEpi and originally called the Contact Event Numbers (CEN) Protocol. Started on 17 March 2020[10], it was one of the very first bluetooth-based protocols to be published in order to conduct exposure notification via cellphone apps. The CEN Protocol got renamed the TCN Protocol and moved over to a new github repo, and it was after the founding of the TCN Coalition that additional contributors from the TCN Coalition's founding members started participating in the development of the codebase.[11]

After the COVID-19 outbreak started to spread rapidly in the US and Europe, a large number of organizations, largely volunteer-run, began popping up in both the US and Europe to build out digital contact tracing tools.[12] Harper Reed and Jenny Wanger[7] were focused on getting various apps being built to become interoperable, while Andreas Gebhard[13] was coaching teams to consider consolidating their efforts and work together rather than replicate each other's efforts. The three of them connected and realized that they had overlapping goals so decided to work together.

During a video call on April 5, 2020 the founding member teams compared their technical protocol efforts, such as ito's STRICT protocol and the above-mentioned CEN, and decided on several key things: First, to all adopt the TCN Protocol as their framework for exposure notification; second, to primarily support bluetooth apps; and third, to form the TCN Coalition.

Members

Founding members

  • CoEpi
  • Covid Watch
  • ito
  • Secure Open Standard for Tracking and Notification
  • Openmined
  • US Digital Response
  • Zcash Foundation

Additional members

  • Apheris AI
  • Coalition Network
  • Corona Go
  • Coronika
  • Cotect
  • Covid Community Alert
  • Flaat
  • Enigma
  • European Blockchain Association
  • Novid
  • my co:radar
  • OHIOH
  • Technical University Munich
  • The Commons Project

References

  1. "Encryption system for a secure contact tracing app". www.research-in-germany.org. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  2. "Hello, world!". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Is Apple and Google's Covid-19 Contact Tracing a Privacy Risk?". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Johnson, Khari (13 April 2020). "What privacy-preserving coronavirus tracing apps need to succeed". VentureBeat. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  5. Reed, Harper (April 22, 2020). "Digital Contact Tracing and Alerting vs Exposure Alerting". Writing by Harper Reed. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Michelle Quinn (April 28, 2020). "Smartphone App Warns If You've Been Exposed to Coronavirus". Voice of America. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Uberti, David (28 April 2020). "Apps to Track the New Coronavirus Have an Old Problem: Getting the Downloads". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  8. "Corona Warn App Readme". Github. Corona-Warn-App. 30 June 2020.
  9. "Apple_Google Announcement - TCN response.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  10. "Add support for reading Contact Event Identifiers". GitHub. 17 March 2020.
  11. Lewis, Dana (31 March 2020). "Initial commit". GitHub.
  12. "Hackathon". #WirVSVirus (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  13. Ingram, David (June 12, 2020). "Coronavirus contact tracing apps were tech's chance to step up. They haven't". NBC News. Retrieved 30 June 2020.

External links

This article "TCN Coalition" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.