Today is the day hundreds, maybe thousands of security specialists, card developers, application developers, regional councils, politicians and civil servants have been working towards for more than 2 years: The official start of the German eID card – the neue Personalausweis.

Just about everything is NEW about this document – the format, the functions, the infrastructure. German citizens will be able to chose whether they want a standard identification card or an all-round on- and offline authentication token. The card itself – powered by a contactless cryptocontroller chip – is state-of-the-art equipped with security features, both visible and invisible.

But it is the applications that make this project so exciting: Will the German industry use the card infrastructure laid out by the government and start developing the much needed commercial applications? Will the Germans actually use it to facilitate eBusiness and eGovernement? In other words, will millions of rolled out cards in the next, say, five years, have a lasting influence on online consumer behavior? It is now up to the German companies to jump on this bandwagon and be prepared to be innovators in the field of eID.

The Silicon Trust, with it’s partners is ready: SCM is one of the leading reader manufacturers working closely with the government from the word go to make the reader infrastructure affordable and secure; Giesecke and Devrient are involved with their expertise as well as leading semiconductor manufacturer Infineon and the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology, who is responsible for the security architecture of the scheme – all Executive Board Members of the Silicon Trust.

Exciting times ahead for the eID industry – let’s hope for a fast and successful adoption by the public.


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