German Digital ID Expected for Fall 2021 - Identity Review - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

Like most citizens engaging in transactions, Germans are frequently required to present their national IDs, featuring a photo and personal details. That is no longer the case—Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community announced that German citizens will be able to store a digital version of their physical ID cards on their smartphones, starting in fall of this year.

The shift marks a greater push to convert Germany’s bureaucracy to the modern, digital era. Phone users will simply be able to verify their identity by tapping the National e-ID cards equipped with “near field communications” (NFC) on the back of their phones.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), government-owned security firm Bundesdruckerei and Deutsche Telekom Security are working together on this project, specifically “to develop a hardware-based security architecture that allows citizens to securely store their National ID on their smartphone as an eID,” mobile phone maker Samsung told Global Government Forum.

“The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that from this fall, citizens will be able to use the ID stored in their smartphones together with a PIN to prove they are who they claim to be when communicating with authorities or private businesses,” a government representative for the program told the Associated Press.

Additionally, the German government has announced that the Cabinet has passed a bill that will make government-owned data openly available to businesses and private individuals, which will spur the development of new businesses.


Olivia Baker is a Tech Innovation Fellow at Identity Review from Columbia University, where she writes on tech policy and national digital identity technologies.

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