German authorities and e-enabled authentication (digital signature etc)

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Though the topic is initially about pension, I think the aspect of digital signature to access govenment services is part of a wider discussion. I'm reporting here on what I just found out for pensions, which actually left me gobsmacked!

 

We've probably all heard about the e-initative to access German government services digitally.

 

Anyway, I just called the Rentenversicherung as I couldn't make head nor tail of their website on the different ways to access your pension records online.

 

I was under no illusions that soft and hardware would be involved.

 

But what I wasn't expecting, was that in order to use the eID function you have to PAY for the card readers to use on your computer to access government information about you. I was expecting it'd be govenment-provided, but nope.

 

The 2 options are:

 

1) E-id with GERMAN ONLY ID card *with* e-function specifically activated by a Beamter AND a card reader you have to order, pay for, replace if broken. (eu26 nationals in Germany therefore can't use this method, since they won't need or get issued an e-Aufenthaltstitel as the only other compatible ID card)

 

2) E-id with BOTH.

i) digital signature card (NOT a Krankenkasse card. NOT a bank card. It's a specially printed and pressed card). You have to order, pay for and replace the card.

ii) a card reader that you have to order, pay for, and replace if faulty.

 

They're really sly and don't mention about the costs in any of their literature. It wouldn't surprise me if you're talking about needing to fork out a few hundred Euros JUST to be able to digitally access information the government holds about you / access govt services.

 

I already pay my pension contributions and various taxes. I would have thought that the costs of implementing e-id are part offset by the cost-savings of going paperless + automation + labour cost savings, with any remainder cost being born by taxpayer/contributor. But nope...

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34 minutes ago, paulwork said:

But what I wasn't expecting, was that in order to use the eID function you have to PAY for the card readers to use on your computer to access government information about you.

 

You don't have to do that. You can use the NFC function of your mobile phone. Watch these videos.

 

And this topic

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50 minutes ago, TurMech said:

 

You don't have to do that. You can use the NFC function of your mobile phone. Watch these videos.

 

And this topic

You can't use that method if you're a non-German national e.g. EU26 citizen. 

 

EU26 citizens (or Germans who don't like the thought of using their IDs) would have to especially order and pay for the digital signature card.

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All German lawyers are also required since 2016 to have a "besondere elektronische Ausweis" which is supposed to provide super secure communication abilities between lawyers and between lawyers and courts.  When email just won't do, there's the beA.  it also requires a special card, and a card reader.  And a fee has to be paid each year to the Notar Kammer which is the authority that oversees the system.  And when it didn't work the first year, and the Rechtsanwalt Kammer said "um, it doesn't work yet so you don't have to use it yet", the Notar Kammer still insisted on being paid because it had done it's job of overseeing the system.  So German. And 99% of the messages I get are things from the local state Rechtsanwaltskammer that announce upcoming lectures and could have been sent in a normal email.  https://bea.brak.de/

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On 11/27/2019, 12:43:40, paulwork said:

They're really sly and don't mention about the costs in any of their literature. It wouldn't surprise me if you're talking about needing to fork out a few hundred Euros JUST to be able to digitally access information the government holds about you / access govt services.

 

You can buy an ID card reader on amazon.de for 35€.

 

Such as this one: https://www.amazon.de/REINER-cyberJack-Chip-Kartenleser-basis-Personalausweis/dp/B004FQO10U/ref=sr_1_5?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&crid=3R4W83TQ2KBS6&keywords=reiner+sct+kartenleser&qid=1575290357&sprefix=reiner+s%2Caps%2C156&sr=8-5

 

The software is free.

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