The black-red federal government under ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has spent millions of euros on an unsuitable technology that should serve to enable citizens to identify themselves digitally on the Internet.

There has been a much better and data protection-proof solution for around twelve years: the digital ID card.

Experts came to this sobering assessment in a public hearing on “digital identities” by the Digital Committee of the Bundestag on Monday.

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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The expert Carl Fabian Lüpke from the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) formulated it particularly drastically, admonishing the traffic light government to “pull the rip cord” for the “Self Sovereign Identity” (SSI) based on blockchain technology: “Stop research to.” He described SSI as “buzzword technology” on which the old federal government wasted a lot of time and money.

Blockchain technology simply makes no sense when it comes to solutions for digital identities.

His solution, on the other hand, sounds simple: He advised the federal government to take a "fraction" of the 100 million euros already invested, to "pretty up" the app a bit and to create a few possible applications.

The other experts – from the Fraunhofer Institute to the Bundesdruckerei to the digital association Bitkom – basically agreed with him.

Digital political flop

They recalled one of the biggest digital policy flops of the old federal government shortly before the federal elections.

At that time, the then Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) presented the first application of the “ID Wallet” with the “digital driver’s license”.

After just a few days, however, the ID wallet had to be removed from the smartphone app stores again because of serious security concerns - which still could not be resolved.

"The discovered vulnerabilities are of a structural nature and affect all wallet applications," Lüpke clarified on Monday.

The case highlights the federal government's uncoordinated digital policy, which in recent years has often neglected sensible solutions in favor of grandly announced new developments.

There are a few key use cases for the digital ID card that could make life much easier for citizens and save businesses money.

For example, it can be helpful when opening an account or concluding a loan agreement.

So far, consumers have had to go to a bank branch or identify themselves as part of a complex video check.

With user-friendly solutions for the digital identity card, this could happen faster and more easily, the experts emphasized in the hearing.