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Digital identities for Germany: the race to catch up has begun

02.12.2020

For years, Germany was considered to come in last when it comes to digitalisation. These times will soon be history - because the race to catch up has long since begun. Within the BMWi's "Digital Identities Showcase" funding project, strong partners have joined forces in the Smartphone ID+ (SID+) project in order to quickly spread the use of digital identities for a wide range of services and thus decisively accelerate digitisation in Germany.

In order to successfully and sustainably catch up, the Smartphone ID+ project focuses not only on a smart technical solution but also on wide-ranging applicability and use, a high degree of user-friendliness, speed of implementation and interoperability with current and future alternatives. 

Technically, the Smartphone ID+ enables the simple and at the same time secure / data protection-compliant "brokering" of different digital identities and their use for a wide range of digital transactions.

"Together with our partners, we can present digital transactions to the end customer or citizen and user in a holistic way - starting with the initial digital identification by us, through verification, digital signatures, document storage and payment. And all that without a password!" illustrates Uwe Stelzig, CEO of identity Trust Management AG.

"It is explicitly our goal to develop the Smartphone ID+ quickly and agilely to launch the first pilots in the short term" explains Markus Hertlein, CEO of XignSys GmbH, which was recently named "Top 5 of the most innovative cyber security start-ups" by FORBES magazine. He is looking forward to the associated challenge: "I am convinced that the combination of young tech companies like us paired with the know-how and market presence of companies such as 1 & 1 Mail & Media GmbH will lead the developments forward with dynamics and sustainability."

The city of Gelsenkirchen is convinced that it is precisely the intensive cooperation between municipal city administrations, such as the one from Gelsenkirchen, innovative start-ups, experienced research institutes and both public and private companies that can ensure broad applicability and thus bring about the breakthrough in this project.

In the end, however, the focus is on the user. "The best application is of no use if it is not accepted by the users," explain Stephan Vila from Creditreform Boniversum and Marius Gerwinn from Fileee GmbH. "It will be a matter of generating added value for our customers in daily practice and at the same time gaining potential development thrusts for our internal processes. We have to focus on this from the very beginning. In the areas we cover, we place particular value on the fact that the platform mediates between digital identities for the most diverse areas of application in business and administration in an uncomplicated technical manner and thus functions as a broker," as the representatives of the consortium partners clarify in conclusion.

Prof. Norbert Pohlmann, long-time head of the Institute for Internet Security at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences, explains that “until now, the focus was either on a very user-friendly application, which, however, had glaring deficiencies in terms of security and data protection, or exactly the other way around. The low acceptance of the electronic identity card is certainly also the result of these problems. The SID+ project combines user-friendliness through completely password-free processes with the highest security standards. The given interoperability - also to future technologies such as Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) - will make a further contribution to strengthening a European approach to digital sovereignty."

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