The Online Access Act 2.0 is set to revolutionize the way people interact with government services in Germany. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has described it as a “step towards modernizing the country, bringing it closer to citizens, and going digital.” The act aims to make life easier for citizens, save time, reduce paperwork, and eliminate the need to visit authorities physically.
Despite the impressive goals, there are doubts about the act’s ability to meet its objectives. The first Online Access Act failed to deliver, raising concerns about the new version’s potential to succeed. However, the OZG 2.0 introduces some changes that could impact its success.
The most significant change in the OZG 2.0 is the requirement for the citizen administration account, currently called “BundID,” to connect to the systems of federal states and municipalities. The consolidation of the ID accounts is a crucial step as a single ID makes more sense than 17 different ones. The goal is to link the BundID to the ID functions of the electronic identity card to confirm users’ identity.
However, the federal government provides few of the services that citizens need. The number of BundID accounts surged this year following the introduction of the energy flat rate for students and vocational school students, as 3.4 million accounts were created by April 2023. The OZG 2.0 aims to increase the BundID’s usage with the obligation to exchange old driving licenses.
Municipalities play a significant role in the administration of citizens’ daily lives. Municipalities handle everything from childcare and school registration procedures to changes of residence, civil matters, and parking permits. The OZG 2.0 may not address this issue unless all levels of government commit to uniform solutions.
The availability and implementation of the OZG 2.0’s goals depend on federal and state governments’ willingness to invest money in the project. However, the federal government has yet to indicate how much funding will be available to the states, with budget negotiations still ongoing.
Despite the challenges, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser remains optimistic about the act’s potential. She believes that if the government applies sufficient pressure, reaches a coalition agreement supporting the act, and provides more funding, it can be successful.
There are concerns about the BundID’s security, prompting discussions about renaming it, considering other levels of administrative services to use it in the future. Although the e-ID solution with an NFC-enabled smartphone is secure, the AusweisApp’s moderate usability is a significant hindrance. The level of security for e-ID use in smartphones must also be viewed critically, and the Ministry of the Interior expects the EU Commission to help bypass this issue.
In conclusion, although the OZG 2.0 sets out ambitious targets, the act’s success depends on various factors. It remains to be seen how well the government and other stakeholders can navigate and address the issues that arise.