Transfer money securely, take a quick look at your retirement account or the uncomplicated age control when shopping online: The electronic identity card (E-Perso) should make all this and much more possible. Because together with a reader and a PC software called ID card app, owners of an e-person can identify themselves on the Internet. But hardly anyone is getting involved in the new possibilities of the document.
- If you order the E-Perso, you pay 28.80 euros for it.
- An ID card app is free for computers with Windows, Linux or OS X.
- There are also readers with displays that support the so-called qualified electronic signature (QES).
Maybe it’s because the new features have made the Perso more expensive. If you order the E-Perso, you pay 28.80 euros for it. So that the online functions can be used, the so-called digital identification (eID) must be activated when the ID is issued. The user also chooses a six-digit PIN. Anyone who has their e-person ready for the Internet at a later date pays six euros on top. The user also has to buy a reader. The ID card app is free for computers with Windows, Linux or OS X.
Use E-Perso to sign contracts
There are also readers with displays that support the so-called qualified electronic signature (QES): With QES, the E-Perso can also be used to sign contracts. So far, however, there are no service providers who offer the necessary security certificates. There are usually additional fees for such certificates.
And otherwise the number of those who support services for or with the E-Perso is rather small, as a look at the official portal for the new ID shows. The providers include a relatively large number of insurance companies, but hardly any online shops or banks and only a few municipalities. The responsible Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) speaks of 85 providers. Prof. Stefan Ruf from the Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences assumes a number below 50. “That is far too little,” criticizes the professor for e-business management.
There are many reasons for the manageable success, says Professor Ruf. “There are too few applications, the acquisition costs are too high, there are enough simple alternatives such as the Postident procedure and too many users are afraid of their data.” Convenient online identification is now even possible. International online shops have so far seen little motivation to take part in the German island solution. And banks shy away from introducing yet another technology after switching from the old TAN lists to TAN generators or mobile TANs for cell phones.
Ruf finds the meager supply from the municipalities annoying, but does not consider it to be the cause of the current situation. “Even if all municipalities introduce the ID card, it will not ensure widespread use.” Because the business that can be done in this area with the ID card is usually only done every few months or years – for example registering a car, re-registering or applying for a police clearance certificate. “Very few will buy an ID card and reader just for this.”
Nevertheless, Ruf believes in the E-Perso. “There will be more applications in the future,” says the expert. The BMI spokesman Philipp Spauschus sees it similarly: “The more citizens leave the function switched on, the more the investments by business and administration in the development of attractive offers will pay off.” By 2020 every German should receive an e-personal ID; according to the BMI, there are currently 13.5 million new ID cards in circulation. However, the eID is only activated in 3.8 million of them.
Security holes fixed long ago
For Prof. Norbert Pohlmann it is incomprehensible why antiquated security solutions are still used in online trading or banking. “Passwords are actually completely unsuitable as security mechanisms because there are thousands of possible attacks on them,” explains the director of the Institute for Internet Security in Gelsenkirchen. In comparison, the E-Perso is the much more secure solution: “In terms of requirements, the electronic identity card is the absolute high-end model worldwide.” The security gaps that still existed at the start have long been fixed.