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DE: Almost 6 million people now possess the electronic ID card

17 November 2012
Since the launch of the new identity card (ID) on 1 November 2010, around a third of the 17.5 million Germans who have been issued this ID are now holders of the new integrated electronic identity (eID) card. This convenient credit-card sized document enables holders to prove their identity online. Currently, it can be used for 129 business and government online services.

Two years after its launch, competent authorities and companies have increasingly expressed their interest in the eID card, as it enables them to improve their services and at the same time, make internal processes more efficient.

For the citizens, the provision of online citizens’ services is a convincing argument for them to use an eID card. Citizens can carry out their administrative tasks in the comfort of their homes, without queuing at public offices, provided that these services are offered by the municipalities.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior supports the further spread of the eID function through its own initiatives and the intensive discussions with interested parties from the government and economy sectors. Moreover, new user-friendly ways to use eIDs at self-service terminals or vending machines using smartphones or a tablet PCs are being examined, as well as the online behaviour of consumers.

Authorities at federal, state and local governments are currently part of the eGovernment initiative of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, which actively supports the introduction of the online card in their electronic citizen services. Their findings are published on the personalausweisportal.de portal. This means that other agencies can make use of these results and accelerate their own integration process.

The current design of the eGovernment Act, regulated by the federal eGovernment, also provides the possibility to use the eID in activities for which up until now a physical or electronic signature has been required.

The new ID card is sometimes considered the world’s most counterfeit-proof identification document. Thanks to the high level of security, which is growing along with the national and international interest in the German eID concept, citizens’ personal information on the Internet is protected from data theft and breaches. More specifically, the chip in the card can transmit data over secure encrypted connections. The cardholder receives approval by entering their PIN. Users will need a reader device in order to use the eID card from their PCs. The reading device software can be downloaded for free. Software, such as the ‘AusweisApp’, establishes a connection between the card and the PC, allowing the encrypted data exchange.






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