BERLIN (AP) — Germany says its citizens will be able to use smartphones to store their government-issued ID cards and prove their identity online.
The move is part of a broader effort to haul Germany’s decidedly analogue bureaucracy into the 21st century.
The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that from this fall, citizens will be able to use the electronic ID stored in their smartphones together with a PIN number to prove they are who they claim to be when communicating with authorities or private businesses.
Germans are frequently required to present credit card-sized cards featuring their photo and personal details, such as when applying for benefits, opening bank accounts or registering a vehicle. While there are already ways of doing this online, the physical card and a card reader are currently required.
Separately, the ministry said the Cabinet has agreed on a bill that will make government-generated data openly available to businesses and private individuals where possible, to spur the development of new applications.