Digital Identity - The ME on the Net

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Whether registering with authorities or on the internet - everything is done much faster digitally. The digital identity card is a good example of this, thanks to which official authority and business transactions can be easily completed online.

Digital identity can make many things easier in everyday life, but also at work. However, implementation in practice is still slow. Read the following article to find out why this is so and what advantages and opportunities digital identity can offer companies and private individuals.

Digital Identity - Definition

Digital identity includes all digital means that you can use for identification on the web and in everyday life. The "I" on the web is supplemented by digital ID cards that you can use to gain access to associations and clubs, but also to your employer. New digital means of proof are versatile and conceivable for almost all areas of life.

Identification with the classic ID card, driving licence and health insurance card can be implemented more effectively digitally, but requires the political will and acceptance of the citizens. Data protectionists usually view digital processes critically at first, and many people do not yet have a high level of trust in new digital means of proof. The risk of failure, the possibility of spying on personal data and possible security risks seem too high.

So it may still be a while before the digital identity reaches Germany, is recognised there and is used successfully in all areas. Yet the digital identity offers quite a few advantages and only a few disadvantages.

Digital Identity - In Pilot Projects

In Germany, there are currently only pilot projects working on the implementation of a digital identity. The registration form needed to check into hotels and the identity card on the smartphone are just a few examples of the planned implementation.

What Else Belongs to the Digital Identity?

"Digital identity" includes everything you do online and offline by digital means. For example, registering in various systems, identifying yourself or leaving data.

Here are some examples:

  • Online banking
  • Digital identity card
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Playing online games
  • Use of social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Posting of contributions and comments in forums and blogs
  • Use of Elster, the electronic tax software of the tax office
  • Digital services of the health insurance fund
  • Applying for loans
  • Access to the electronic patient file
  • Conclusion of contracts for insurances
  • Bankident procedure via video

Digital Identity - Advantages and Disadvantages

New digital proof of identity options are attracting a lot of interest. A good example is the "ID Wallet App" for the digital driving licence. However, technical shortcomings and concerns about security often prematurely put the brakes on such developments. A digital identity that does not only work in one area but includes applications for the entire everyday life could be a better solution.

Within the EU, work is therefore being done on various electronic identification procedures with the aim of developing a common basis that can be used throughout the EU. Digital identity will only move the EU forward if it can be used across borders.

A concrete plan for the introduction of a "digital identity" is currently being pursued by the EU Commission and is to be presented in 2022. One feature will be the EU ID, which every citizen will receive and can thus use for identification throughout the EU. Passwords and user names will not be needed - the use is planned, for example, for train tickets, driving licences and other documents.

The electronic identity has numerous advantages, but also disadvantages. You can find a brief summary of both in the following table:


  • Easy identification
  • Versatile use
  • Saves time and money
  • Speeds up processes
  • Paper certificates are no longer required
  • Simple documentation and archiving


  • Fear of data misuse and surveillance
  • Data loss possible
  • Introduction of new systems expensive

Who Benefits in Particular?

The "digital identity" offers many different advantages. Are you wondering who can benefit from it? We have compiled a few examples for you:


Applications for public funds, vehicle registration and other official procedures can be processed quickly and efficiently.

Banks and Insurances

Applications for bank accounts and insurance policies can be filled out, signed and sent online; proof of identity is provided via the eID.


In future, it should be possible to link health insurance and vaccination certificates with travel documents (e.g. train and plane tickets).


EU-wide enrolment at universities, BAföG applications, proof of enrolment, certificates and much more should be possible.

The ID Wallet, which will serve citizens in the EU area online and offline to identify themselves and to use digital services, is planned for the end of 2023.

Links will be possible with driving licences, insurance policies, bank accounts, a digital wallet and important certificates, among other things. All public services are also planned to be available online by 2030 to relieve the authorities and speed up the processing of applications.


According to the definition of digital identity, a large number of areas of life are affected by the digital transformation and the introduction of a digital identity. The digital identity is often described as the "I" in the Internet, as many digital processes take place online. Whether the digital identity will successfully influence companies in Germany depends strongly on the competent implementation as well as the acceptance of citizens to actively use their digital identity online and offline in the future. Overall, the introduction of a digital identity in Europe will bring many advantages. Many of today's very time-consuming processes can be simplified and handled much faster. Above all, it will be easier to go to the authorities, make applications and prove one's own identity if the implementation is technically flawless. Instead of creating new profiles and online identities everywhere, thanks to digital identity, in the future, everything will work with a single ID throughout the EU.

Oliver Pikolleck

Oliver Pikolleck


The main focus of Oliver Pikolleck's more than 10 years of legal practice is advising national and international clients ranging from start-ups to large medium-sized companies with a focus on commercial law, employment law, regulations, IT and data protection law in a national and international context. Oliver Pikolleck advises on employment law, data protection law, public law and private construction law. He represents companies as an external data protection officer.

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