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Since 18th of December 2010 Germany makes use of an identity card that should allow electronic authentication:

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(image source:

From a users perspective, the authentication seems to work as follows:

  1. A program requests permission to read information (name, birth date and place, address, photo, serial number, fingerprints) and/or to authenticate
  2. The user puts the card on a reader (see list of readers)
  3. The users gives the program permission to authenticate / get the requested information by entering a PIN

According to Wikipedia, a protocol called PACE which seems to be similar to PAKE is used (English specifications of PACE are here). I've skipped through the first part of the specification and found:

The keys and operations for signatures are described in an algorithm-independent way. A mapping to RSA and ECDSA can be found in Part 3 of this Technical Guideline.

I guess that authentication works with RSA. But I would like to get some sources. So my question is:

How does identification currently work with the German identity card?

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closed as off-topic by e-sushi, archie, rath, figlesquidge, Ilmari Karonen Dec 2 '13 at 16:28

  • This question does not appear to be about cryptography within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

My German is non-existant so I'm just guessing here, but it sounds like a X509-like smart card based on what I'm reading from Gemalto's site. – Steve Aug 5 '13 at 18:34
“Identification” with the German identity card works just like with every other passport. The cryptography used for the passport's chip is in no way related to the regular “identification” of the passport holder. Meaning: the additional data stored on the chip is Meta-Data for governmental use only (mostly Meta-Data verification)! The holder has to verify governmental chip access. Now, since the functionality of the cryptography used in relation to that chip is already mentioned in the papers OP himself presents and links to… it's unclear what exactly OP is actually trying to ask here. – e-sushi Nov 10 '13 at 17:11
Unless this can be clarified so it's a question about the cryptography used in the card protocols, it's probably off-topic here and better suited to – archie Nov 10 '13 at 20:59