Digital identity: What is it?

Every person is unique and can be easily identified in the real or analog world. How does that actually work on the Net? That's where digital identity comes in. It allows each person to be identified in a similarly unique way as with a fingerprint in the analog world.

Digital identity: What is it?

Digital identity: What is it? © Deutsche Telekom

Digital ID cards, digital signatures or digital health cards - digitization is reaching more and more areas of life. But how does it work? And what do we as users get out of it?

Digital identity as a quantum leap

Digital identities are digital proofs of identity for citizens or organizations. Secure digital identities are a quantum leap for everything we do on the Internet. Almost all areas of life benefit from this. Digital technologies are key to learning, working, legitimizing and staying in touch. That's why it's important that these technologies are stable and secure. More and more people are moving their activities to the Internet. They need to be protected from fraud and illegal content. 

Digital identity: What constitutes the digital twin

Things can also have a digital existence: The digital twin accompanies real objects as a real-time copy. In essence, it is the virtual image of a specific product or person. This accompanies its physical counterpart throughout its life. In the process, digital information is linked with real status and behavioral information. With the help of the digital twin, companies can, for example, identify problems at an early stage and initiate improvements in development, production, sales and service. The digital twin of a private person - their digital identity, so to speak - enables a digital ID card or digital health record, among other things. 

Secure digital health card

Nowadays, even highly sensitive data is exchanged securely digitally over the Internet. The smartphone, for example, is becoming an electronic health card: the chip cards of those with statutory health insurance are being given a digital twin on the cell phone: so-called digital identities enable access to data and applications. Like the card, they also serve as proof of insurance. 

This also applies to the electronic patient record (ePA). The personal, digital file of every patient in which all medical data is recorded. Doctor visits, vaccinations, prescribed medications as well as findings and other documents are documented in the ePA.

Digital ID card for unique identification

With digitization, the secure handling of user data and identities is becoming increasingly important in companies and the public sector. An electronic ID card, for example, is linked to the health card. Biometric processes such as Face ID ensure unique identification and are intended to protect against misuse.

Exciting applications beyond government or healthcare

A secure digital identity can also make life easier beyond the health card or digital ID card. Access to packing stations could be simplified, eliminating barcodes and the need to enter names by hand. It digitizes time clocks, opens offices, rents and starts cars. Hotel guests can use it to check in and pay. Many things are already conceivable and technically possible, and more and more application scenarios are being added.