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Criticism of the digital policy of the federal government

DThe black-red federal government under former chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has spent millions of euros on inadequate technology that should allow citizens to digitally identify themselves on the Internet. There has been a much better and data protection-proof solution for about twelve years: the digital ID card. Experts arrived at this sobering assessment at a public hearing on “digital identities” held by the Bundestag’s Digital Committee on Monday.

The expert Carl Fabian Lüpke put it particularly drastically Chaos Computer Club (CCC), who urged the traffic light government to “pull the tether” of “Self-Sovereign Identity” (SSI) based on blockchain technology: “Stop research on this.” He called SSI a “fad technology” that the old federal government wasted a lot of time and money on. Blockchain technology simply doesn’t make sense when it comes to solutions for digital identities.

His solution, on the other hand, seems simple: he advised the federal government to take a “fraction” of the 100 million euros already invested, “beautify” the application a bit and create some possible applications. The other experts, from the Fraunhofer Institute to the Bundesdruckerei and the digital association Bitkom, basically agreed with him.

Digital political failure

They recalled one of the biggest digital policy failures of the former federal government shortly before the federal election. At that time, the then Federal Minister of Transport presented Andres Scheuer (CSU) with the “digital driver’s license” the first “ID wallet” application. However, after only a few days, the ID wallet had to be removed from smartphone app stores due to serious security issues that could not be resolved yet. “The discovered vulnerabilities are structural in nature and affect all wallet applications,” Lüpke clarified on Monday.

The case highlights the uncoordinated digital policy of the federal government, which in recent years has often neglected sensible solutions in favor of new developments heralded with great pomp. There are a few key use cases for the digital ID card that could make life a lot easier for citizens and save businesses money. For example, it can be useful when opening an account or concluding a loan agreement. Until now, consumers have had to go to a bank branch or identify themselves as part of a complex video surveillance. With user-friendly digital identity card solutions, this could happen faster and easier, experts at the hearing emphasized.