Germany has recently moved to allow people to use their smartphones to store their government issued ID cards to prove their identity online.
According to the Associated Press, this move is a broad effort to take their rather “analogue bureaucracy” to the 21st century. Germans are used to the old system for presenting credit card sized cards with their photos and personal details when opening bank accounts, registering vehicles or applying for benefits.
Their Interior Ministry said that from fall this year, Germans will be able to use the electronic ID stored in their smartphones together with a PIN to prove who they are while communicating with authorities or private businesses.
The German interior ministry also said that the Cabinet has agreed on a bill that will make government generated data openly available to businesses and private individuals where possible to spur development of new apps.
This move is what we will probably see in the future from governments around the world. Digital transformation is happening on all industries and government is not exempted from it. The smartphone has become the most important and personal gadget we have so storing your ID is not the most surprising thing in the world. We already use smartphones to hold our virtual wallets, connect to our virtual accounts that tie to our personal data so this feels like the next logical move.