German eID expected for November 2010
By November 1, 2010 the ID card hitherto in use in Germany will be replaced by the new personal identity card, with built-in electronic identification and signature functions. The card will contain a contactless chip inside. The information on the card is protected by cryptography, and data is transmitted through a cryptographically secured protocol. These measures are intended to prevent access by unauthorized parties. The cardholder can personally designate who gets access to the data by means of a six-digit PIN. At the same time, government legislature regulates who may obtain access privileges. To do so, every service provider must apply for an authorization certificate from an official issuing agency, and demonstrate that it requires the information in order to conduct business.
In October 2009, the government started a central coordinated application test, with 30 service provider testing the the German eID card like Air Berlin, Allianz, Lotto, Fujitsu, etc. 3000 participants were involved in this test.
For individual citizens, this innovation comes with a whole series of advantages. With the new personal identity card, it will be possible, for example, to validate cardholders identity on the Internet by use of his personalized e-Identification (eID) and to sign electronic documents.
Using the electronic identification function, individuals can initiate contact with public authorities or service providers right from their personal computers and use electronic data, to do online shopping, open an account, check into a hotel or play the lottery. Consumers can dispense with today's electronic signature or any expensive procedures, like Germany's PostIdent procedures. Each citizen can activate the eID function upon receipt of his identification card, and then use it with his assigned PIN.