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German Research Institute for Public Administration

Safety mechanisms in digital communication

Secure communication and authentication (including signing) represents a greater challenge in the age of e-government than ever before. A prerequisite for establishing digital access to public administration and its use by citizens is trust in the technical infrastructure required for this purpose. User-centred, cross-level digital identity management needs particularly trustworthy identities. The e-ID function of a passport or ID-card is the first step to a digital identity that opens up access opportunities.

With the eIDAS VO from the EU, the material regulations for a unified legal framework for electronic security services became effective on 1 July 2016, which had direct effect and primacy of application with regard to the German provisions. At the same time, the law provides significant room for (national) interpretation and application. The research project addresses the effects on German law and the structural options from the Commission. In Art. 6, the eIDAS VO requires mutual recognition of electronic identification systems. The interplay of the eID function of the personal identification with European-wide access to the e-government services offers numerous connection points for innovative legal, administrative and economic research questions related to cross-level digital identity management.

The topic of "digital identities" is however not only relevant for people, but rather is a central success factor for the Internet of Things and also a Smart Grid. Each of the objects linked to it has its own unique identity and must be reliably controllable and able to communication while minimising data as much as possible. A particular regulatory challenge is defining the higher level standards and comparable confidence levels and security levels. The research project takes on this challenge for innovative fundamental research.

In addition, the project takes a closer look at secure communication with authorities and lawyers as well as at new forms of payment transactions.

Note: The text on this home page is copyrighted. It is taken verbatim or based on Martini, "Digitalisierung als Herausforderung und Chance für Staat und Verwaltung" (Digitalisation as Challenge and Chance for State and Administration), FÖV Discussion Paper No. 85, 2016, in particular p. 65 f.  

Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Sorge


Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr. Mario Martini



Michael Kolain

Michael Kolain, Ass. iur.