µ-Chip. The World’s smallest RFID IC – Radio Frequency Identification Intergated Circuit

Electronic Numbering of Products and Documents using the “µ-Chip” (or mu-chip) supported by a Networked Database unleashes new Business and Life Style Applications that facilitate innovative Manufacturing, Distribution, Consumption, Tracking and Recycling operations.

*Size compared to a human fingertip

The RFID, wireless semiconductor integrated circuit that stores an ID number in its memory, was proposed about a decade ago as an alternative to the barcode. Its use, however, has so far been limited to a few applications where its advantages offset its relatively high cost.

The µ-Chip is Hitachi’s response to resolving some of the issues associated with conventional RFID technology. The µ-Chip uses the frequency of 2.45GHz. It has a 128-bit ROM for storing the ID with no write-read and no anti-collision capabilities. Its unique ID numbers can be used to individually identify trillions of trillions of objects with no duplication. Moreover with a size of 0.4mm square, the µ-Chip is small enough to be attached to a variety of minute objects including embedding in paper.

Manufacturing, distribution and tracking systems can be built or enhanced using the µ-Chip with an event-driven accumulation of, and on-demand access to, information stored in a database through the network. By coupling this database with the versatility of the µ-Chip new business and life styles applications can now be brought to reality. These new applications allow manufacturing, commerce and recycling processes to be operated in a way that has not been possible before.


September 2, 2003

Hitachi Develops a New RFID with Embedded Antenna µ-Chip
–Makes Possible Wireless Links that Work Using Nothing More Than a 0.4mm X 0.4mm Chip, One of the World’s Smallest ICs–

Tokyo, September 2, 2003-Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501) today announced that it has developed a new version of its RFID µ-Chip embedding an antenna. When using Hitachi’s original µ-Chip, one of the world’s smallest RFID ICs measuring only 0.4mm X 0.4mm, an external antenna must be attached to the chip to allow external devices to read the 128-bit ID number stored in its ROM (Read-Only-Memory). This newly developed version, however, features an internal antenna, enabling chips to employ the energy of incoming electrical waves to wirelessly transmit its ID number to a reader. The 0.4mm X 0.4mm chip can thus operate entirely on its own, making it possible to use µ-Chip as RFID IC tags without the need to attach external devices. This breakthrough opens the door to using µ-Chips as RFID IC tags in extremely minute and precise applications that had been impractical until now. For example, the new µ-Chip can be easily embedded in bank notes, gift certificates, documents and whole paper media etc.

The µ-Chip, announced by Hitachi in July 2001, is one of the world’s smallest IC chips at 0.4mm X 0.4mm. The chip data is recorded in read-only memory during the semiconductor production process, and therefore cannot be rewritten, thus guaranteeing its authenticity. Applications of the µ-Chip include a system for managing the SCM materials on sites, and entrance tickets for Expo 2005 Aichi Japan which opens on March 25, 2005.

The primary features of this revolutionary µ-Chip are as follows.

(1) A RFID IC chip measuring only 0.4mm X 0.4mm with built-in antenna

Despite its extremely small size, this µ-Chip has a built-in antenna to permit contactless communications (at very close proximity) with other devices without using an external antenna.

(2) No need for special manufacturing equipment

The antenna is formed using bump-metalization technology (used to create the electrical contacts of an IC), a process already widely used by semiconductor manufacturers, thus eliminating any need for specialized equipment.

(3) Complete compatibility with conventional µ-Chip

With ID numbers and support systems that are fully compatible with those of existing µ-Chip, the new chip is fully compatible with all systems that use current µ-Chip technology.

Hitachi plans to develop numerous markets for this chip that take full advantage of its outstanding features. Embedding the chip in securities, identification and other valuable documents such as vouchers offers a highly sophisticated means of preventing counterfeiting. Another high-potential application is agricultural products, where the chips can help ensure the safety of food by providing traceability of ingredients. Additionally, the chips can be embedded in business forms to automate logistics systems and many other business processes.

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company, with approximately 340,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2002 (ended March 31, 2003) consolidated sales totaled 8,191.7 billion yen ($68.3 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors, including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s Web site at http://www.hitachi.com.

Technical Description

Specifications of µ-Chip

Simple Mechanism :

128-bit read only memory, no anti-collision control

Super-micro Chip: 0.4 mm x 0.4mm

Battery Less:

The µ-Chip a passive IC, that receives the microwave from the reader, generates electric power from the microwave, decodes its µ-Chip ID and transmits it back to the reader.

Unique ID (µ-Chip ID):

Each µ-Chip stores unique 128-bit data in its ROM as its ID, to distinguish it from the others.

Radio Frequency:

2.45 GHz

Maxmum Communication Length:

about 25 cm (with an external antenna) (Reader: 300mW, 4 Pach Antenna, Circular Polarization)

Response Time:



When the reader is activated by a terminal device (PC), it radiates microwave on to the µ-Chip attached to a carrying article and the µ-Chip returns its µ-Chip ID to the reader. The carrying article may be a tag, a label or a customers products.
Database Query:
The terminal device authenticates the µ-Chip ID and uses it to retrieve information from the database about the article carrying the µ-Chip. The result of the query can be displayed on the terminal device or used by a software application.
Database Construction:
The database may be located at the site server or at the central server and stores attributes of the µ-Chip carrying article. Information associated with the event of readout may be used to update the database.
Linking each µ-Chip ID to the carrying article is performed upon application of the µ-Chip to it.
The attributes of the article at this point comprise the basic entry to the database. For efficient, automated linking process, consultation and engineering services are available.





CNBC – Verichip Human Microchip Implant

Fox 5 – Verichip Human Microchip Implant

Mexican Attorney General Gets Security Microchip Implant in Arm – ABC News, Introduction of the microchip (15.07.2004)


Mexican Attorney General Gets Security Microchip Implant in Arm

July 12 (Bloomberg) — Mexico’s Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha said he had a non-removable microchip implanted in his arm as a security measure to track him throughout Mexico and to give him access to a crime data bank.

Other high-ranking law enforcement officials who have access to the databank will also receive the chip implants, Macedo said in a transcript of an informal interview he gave to journalists in Mexico City provided by the attorney general’s office.

“The system is already in place and I already have it,” he said. “It’s only for access, for security and so that I can also be located at any moment anywhere I am.”

The $26 million data bank was created to link information on criminals and records of outstanding arrest warrants among the attorney generals branch offices in all 31 states and the federal district.

The chip can’t be removed, but will be deactivated after Macedo’s term as attorney general expires, he said.

About 160 Mexican officials will carry the microchip, according to the Mexico City daily El Universal.

When asked if the implant hurt, Macedo replied, “a little.”


UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implanted Bar Code Tags inside one day mouce embryos. Human ones coming soon.

Read more here

UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implant Bar code tags, inside one day embryos !!!! Soon and inside humans


UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implant Bar code tags, inside one day embryos !!!! Soon and inside humans

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
         Fig. 1 A scanning electron microscope image of a barcode.
  Fig. 2. Light microscope micrograph of an in vitro cultured macrophage cell with polysilicon barcode. Picture was taken with a 40x objective on an inverted optical microscope
Fig. 3. Light microscope micrograph of a mouse embryo at the two-cell stage with different polysilicon barcodes adhered to the zona pellucida. Picture was taken with a 20x objective on in inverted optical microscope.



Diverse types of barcodes have been designed in order to track living cells in vivo or in vitro, but none of them can follow an individual cell up to ten or more days. Until now, codes have been envisaged to follow different
cell subpopulations mixed in the same culture, to track a minority group of cells representing the whole population or to follow a subpopulation of cells in vivo.
Individual cell tracking is important to evaluate individual cell behavior (cell survival, cell movement, relationship with other cells, etc.) under different conditions (exposure to toxic gases or compounds, therapeutic drugs, source of light, a chemical stimulus, etc.). Individual cell tracking is also of great interest in embryo traceability in assisted reproduction technologies (ART) to make sure that the embryo to be transferred belongs to the right couple.

A biocompatible and non-cytotoxic encoded microparticle has been developed to track isolated cells or embryos. It is an useful tool in research to follow the behavior of individual cells exposed to different conditions or different therapeutic drugs and in clinical settings to track individual oocytes and embryo as well. We are seeking a company partner to further develop the technology through a co-development and license agreement.


The invention
A biocompatible and non-cytotoxic encoded microparticle for labeling or tracking an isolated cell (e.g. macrophages, fibroblasts, ESC or oocytes) or an isolated embryo has been developed. The microparticle is made of a biocompatible material using silicon microtechnologies. This technology allows the production of thousands of barcodes containing different codes. Its external shape comprises a code by which it can be identified using an inverted optical microscope with an objective between 20X – 100X. Its dimensions are small enough that it can be introduced into or attached to isolated cells or embryos.

Contrary to previous labeling and tracking devices, the code of the microparticle is comprised in its external shape. The code of the particle may thus be considered a spatial code. There is no need for fluorochromes to be able to identify the code.

Innovative aspects and applications
– Encoded microparticules as a High throughput screening cells tool.
– Encoded microparticules for tracking human embryo in IVF treatment.
– Biocompatible and no cytotoxicity.
– Adherence to zona pellucida or plasma membrane .
– Optical microscopy code identification.
– Low-cost manufacture and high versatility.
State of development
– Barcodes have been tested in cells (macrophages) and in mouse embryos.
– Studies of Biocompatibility and cytotoxity have been carried out in macrophages and mouse embryos (during the pre-implantation development, from zygote to hatching stage).
– Barcodes are made using silicon microtechnologies (MEMs and NEMs fabrication) which allow the production of the devices with dimensions in the micron range.
Ongoing research
– Adherence to plasma membrane. Results are expected at the end of the second quarter of the year.
– In vivo studies in mouse. Results are expected within the last quarter of the year.

 Download it here

Autonomous University of Barcelona – Encoded (with barcodes) microparticles for isolated cell and embryo.pdf


Oxford Journals – Human Reproduction  

A novel embryo identification system by direct tagging of mouse embryos using silicon-based barcodes



Critics of the selection that’s often involved in assisted reproductive technology – picking a 5’10”, blond-haired, Ivy League grad egg donor, for example – say it turns conceiving a baby into a shopping exercise. It’s probably safe to venture, however, that none of the critics envisioned a day when we’d be bar-coding embryos.

That is precisely what researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have done, reports New Scientist. Using cells from mouse embryos and eggs, the scientists developed a procedure that involves inserting microscopic silicon bar codes into a gap between the cell membrane and an outer membrane called the zona pellucida.

The next step is to try the technique on human embryos and eggs. That will happen soon; the Government of Catalonia health department has already approved the method for use on genetic material provided by Spanish fertility clinics.

The technique could help fertility doctors avoid mix-ups during in-vitro fertilization – such as a 2002 case in which a white couple gave birth to black twins.

Researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have come up with an ingenious solution for keeping track of embryos and egg cells during in vitro fertilisation procedures: microscopic bar codes.

These mouse eggs were tagged by injecting microscopic silicon bar codes into their perivitelline space, the gap between the cell membrane and an outer membrane called the zona pellucida, which binds sperm cells during fertilisation.

The bar codes, which carry unique binary identification numbers, are biologically inert: they do not affect the rate of embryo development and are shed before the embryos implant into the wall of the uterus. The technique aims to simplify individual embryo identification, streamlining in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer procedures.

The Government of Catalonia’s Department of Health has granted permission for the technique to be developed using human eggs and embryos from fertility clinics in Spain.

The research, published in the journal Human Reproduction, may go some way to avoiding mix ups at fertility clinics.

 the UAB lab studies, labeled embryos were shown to develop normally up until the blastocyst stage, which precedes implantation. The researchers also studied how well the labels stayed on throughout the development cycle, how easily they could be read with a standard microscope, how they could be eliminated after the shedding of the zona pellucida, and how well they could stand up to the freezing and thawing of their host embryo.

There were some problems with embryos being able to free themselves from the labels when they shed the zona pellucida. The scientists are therefore now looking at modifying the surface of the labels, so they could be mounted on the outside of the covering, instead of being injected into the perivitelline space. They are also working on an automated bar code reading system.

Permission has been given by the Government of Catalonia’s Department of Health for UAB to begin testing its system with human oocytes and embryos from several fertility clinics in Spain.

The research was recently published in the journal Human Reproduction.


Printable Nanocircuits Promise to Make RFID Tags More Ubiquitous Than Bar Codes.

The product would also be the first to use printed nanotube transistors
Printable RFID Tags Here’s hoping to printable tags at a penny a pop Gyou-Jin Cho/Sunchon National University

Bar codes in the supermarket might face extinction sooner rather than later, if radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags can cost just a penny apiece, rather than the dime or more they currently run. Now South Korean researchers say they have the technology to print RFID circuits on plastic film, courtesy of nanotube-containing inks, Technology Review reports.

A version of the RFID tags slated to hit the market later this year would be the first product to use printed transistors based on carbon nanotubes. Printing means the application of different layers of antenna coils, nanotube inks, and capacitors and diodes.

The researchers at Sunchon National University in South Korea successfully printed out the plastic RFID tags using common industrial methods such as roll-to-roll printing, ink-jet printing, and silicone rubber-stamping.

These processes churn out tags for just three cents per piece, but the group ultimately hopes to pass the one-cent milestone by figuring out how to lay down all the nanotube ink layers in one go during the roll-to-roll printing. Many RFID tags today cost anywhere from 7 cents to 15 cents, if not more.

Cheap RFID: Pleasingly cheap, flexible, and cheap  Gyou-Jin Cho/Sunchon National University

But some hurdles remain before you’ll see these newer tags at checkout lines. The current prototypes are three times the size of a typical barcode, and can only store one bit of information — just enough to either give a yes or no response to an RFID reader. Such tags also only work with readers up to 10 centimeters away, because of their weak power signals. 

That should change with the 64-bit tag set to come out next year, and then ultimately a 96-bit tag, a real barcode-killer.

Even the pricier RFID tags today have already found use in EZPass highway tolls and as anti-counterfeiting devices.

[via Technology Review]



New German RFID ID Card, European Electronic ID card, European Citizen Card (ECC) – Big Brother is here.

Lets first have a look on the reading of the new German RFID ID Card, European electronic ID card, European Citizen Card (ECC), with (RFID Reader ISO 14443).

(Watch this photo,a Contactless Microchip with Antenna is on the right side of the card and a Contact Microchip on the left one.)

Bundesdruckerei presents European electronic ID card (ECC)
At the CeBIT (CEntrum der  Βόro- und Ιnformationsτechnik = Center of office and Technology Infromation) ITC (Ιnstrumental TransCommunication) fair, which is due to kick off tomorrow in Hanover, Bundesdruckerei GmbH will be the first company to present a European electronic ID card (European Citizen Card, ECC) in several formats.

Bundesdruckerei can implement the ECC in two different formats: either in credit-card format or in the somewhat larger ID2 format of today’s German ID card. The ECC can be produced as a hybrid card, i.e. with a contactless and contact chip; the ID2 format can be produced with a contactless chip. As a manufacturer of German and many other international ePassports, Bundesdruckerei also masters the third customary format for ID documents. However, the security of an electronic ID card is not ensured solely by electronic components but also by new, high-quality security printing combined with new, innovative security features in high-security card technology. Thanks to its outstanding lead in technology expertise, Bundesdruckerei is in a position to implement the specific demands of customers in a highly flexible manner.

Bundesdruckerei develops new generation of forgery-resistant high-security cards

On the opening day of CeBIT in Hanover, Bundesdruckerei GmbH is to present a new generation of forgery-proof high-security cards based on polycarbonate (PC) material, called “Innosec Fusion”.

Various European countries including the Federal Republic of Germany are planning to introduce new electronic ID cards with an integrated chip in the near future. “Our new technology is highly resistant against forgery and thus perfectly suited for electronic ID cards”, emphasizes Ulrich Hamann, CEO of Bundesdruckerei. The new personalisation technology will soon reach market maturity.

Controversial new ID cards coming in 2010

The German Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday that new identification cards containing radio-frequency (RFID) chips will be introduced starting November 1, 2010 – but some data protection experts are critical of the decision.

a“It’s smaller than the old one, but can do a lot more,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in a statement.

The information on the card itself will be digitally stored on the RFID chip inside the card, in addition to two fingerprint scans that German citizens can choose to opt out of. The ID will also have a digital signature that can be used to complete official business with government offices and possibly beyond – accessed only by a six digit PIN number.

“The citizens choose who they want to give what data to,” Interior Ministry official Hans Bernhard Beus said.

But data protection advocates say the RFID chip, which can be detected via radio frequencies from about two metres away without the owner’s knowledge, is problematic despite the fact it has already been incorporated into German passports.

Dr. Andreas Pfitzmann, head of the privacy and data security group at Technische Universität Dresden, told The Local on Monday that there is no reason to use RFID chips for identification cards, and that in the worst case scenario, the chips could be used to carry out such things as terrorist attacks. !!!

“An extreme example would be that assuming German passports react differently to the radio frequency than American passports, I could use this frequency to set off a bomb where I know there are only Americans or Germans,” he said.

Pfitzmann, who specialises in privacy and identity management in Europe, spoke out against using RFID “e-passports” in parliamentary hearings during the late 1990s. He said the new ID cards raise similar concerns.

“Unfortunately the technology tempts people to give personal information that shouldn’t be made public to dubious machines,” he told The Local, adding that there was no way to indicate whether a reading machine is officially authorised. “The new identification card has inherited many of the bad traits of the passport.”

But the new Perso, as it’s known colloquially in German, also has some positive new additions such as the digital signature, which could help streamline Germany’s notoriously opaque bureaucracy, he said.

“There is no easy answer. One could have done some things better, but I wouldn’t simply say that it’s only negative just because mistakes were made,” Pfitzmann said.

All old identification cards will be valid until they expire, though German residents will have the option to trade up for the new ID early if they wish.

Read more here :
Thiw article is taken from : http://www.bundesdruckerei.de/en/index.html
Berlin, 16 March 2007 – Bundesdruckerei GmbH produces the electronic office ID card for Germany’s federal authorities. Starting in the summer of this year, this card shall be gradually introduced for the Federal Armed Forces. This may be followed by other federal authorities.

Bundesdruckerei developed the office ID card together with the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). The card is made of a durable and long-lasting polycarbonate and is a state-of-the-art, secure hybrid card. It features both a contactless memory chip as well as a contact processor chip. The traditional public authority ID card now includes a host of additional electronic mechanisms which enabled the implementation of a multi-functional security concept.

The security card is produced at Bundesdruckerei and is optically personalised there in a central process using laser engraving. In order to ensure maximum protection against forgery and manipulation, various different security features are already integrated into the card body during the production process. For instance, the card features a number of tried-and-tested security printing methods, such as guilloche patterns, microtext or copy-resistant printing inks, just like those used for the German ID card. The integration of a contactless chip means that the card can also be used for access control systems or to record working time. The integrated contact chip has been prepared for various applications, such as the electronic signature. The actual saving of data on the chip is only carried out by an authorised employee at the public authority. Personal data that is particularly sensitive cannot be read out without the consent of the card holder.

The issuing authorities alone hence define the functionalities and infrastructure connection for the office ID card. Bundesdruckerei can support the public authorities if necessary during the setting up of the technical requirements and during the integration of suitable applications. Numerous pilot projects have been carried out prior to the introduction of the office ID card. Under the leadership of Bundesdruckerei, the card was already tested back in 2001/2002 with employees from the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). From 2003 to 2005, Bundesdruckerei conducted a pilot project titled “Personal key card for the Federal Armed Forces” which additionally tested the integration of electronic office /troop ID cards into existing public key infrastructures (PKI). 

2. Security Documents Electronic office ID card

Modernising Germany’s administration is one of the paramount infrastructure challenges of recent years and will remain so in the years to come. The measures designed to optimise administrative procedures have already been launched on a broad basis and are now to be pushed further ahead. To this effect, the Federal Ministry of the Interior commissioned Bundesdruckerei GmbH in co-operation with the Federal Office for Information Security and the German Federal Criminal Police Office to develop and produce office ID cards with enhanced security features for the staff at all federal authorities. The Federal Armed Forces has also adopted this approach.

Vast experience and comprehensive results formed the foundation of the planning process:

In a first pilot project over a 7-month period, a preliminary version of the electronic office ID card was successfully tested from November 2001 to June 2002 by a total of 100 employees at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and at the Federal Office for Information Security under the leadership of Bundesdruckerei GmbH.

In addition to this, Bundesdruckerei successfully conducted a pilot project titled “Personal key card for the Federal Armed Forces” (May 2003 – October 2005) for the Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology of the German Armed Forces. 764 cards were issued to 633 participants in the pilot phase at 56 locations and successfully tested.

The new electronic office ID card uses state-of-the-art hybrid card technology in order to combine the functionalities of contactless memory chips with those of contact-based processor chips, making it possible for the first time to integrate numerous additional electronic mechanisms into the conventional ID card, thereby implementing a multi-functional security concept.

3. Security Documents

New ID card

The new ID card was launched in Germany on 1 November 2010.
This card can do everything the old ID card could – and much more.As a handy document in credit-card format, the new ID card will continue to be used as so-called photo ID. But for those citizens who wish to make use of its additional functions, transactions on the Internet are set to become more convenient and secure. That’s because the information printed on the ID card is also digitally stored on the chip integrated into the card. For the first time ever, the holder can use the new ID card to prove his identity on the Internet. At the same time, however, he continues to have full control over the data. Apart from the online ID function, the holder of the new ID card can also elect to use the qualified electronic signature (QES). When it comes to the sovereign ID function, citizens can choose whether or not to have their fingerprints stored on the chip in the card. This establishes an even stronger link between the document and its holder.

1. Bundesdruckerei GmbH produces electronic office ID card for Germany’s federal authorities

Gradual introduction for the Federal Armed Forces to start in summer Multi-functional security concept developed

 Bundesdruckerei is a one-stop shop for comprehensive security know-how for the new ID card:
  • The company produces the new ID card, one of the most secure ID documents in the world.
  • It issues authorisation certificates for online service providers.
  • The company operates its own eID Service at its high-security computer centres for the authentication of online service providers.

4.Bundesdruckerei and Gothaer Versicherungen offer online function for the new German ID card

Berlin-based high-security company provides authorisation certificates and eID Service

Berlin, 2 November 2010 – Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung is the first company in Germany to be officially authorised by the Federal Administration Office (BVA) to use electronic proof of ID. At the same time, the company opted for the eID Service and authorisation certificates from Bundesdruckerei GmbH for the new online authentication function.

The new German ID card launched on 1 November 2010 comes with an additional electronic ID function which allows citizens, companies and public agencies to prove their identity on the Internet in a reliable manner.

Bundesdruckerei is supporting Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung in its endeavours to use this innovation in its business processes. Based on the approval recently issued by BVA, Bundesdruckerei will now issue the insurance company with the necessary authorisation certificates that serve as electronic service provider ID. These certificates authorise the insurance company to read out personal data from the new ID card on condition that the customer has given his consent.

Bundesdruckerei’s eID Service ensures secure communication during the exchange of data. This eID Service runs in the background and assumes the role of a trustworthy mediator between the online service provider and the user. It also ensures that all the data is encrypted and signed for transmission and that the user and the service provider can at all times be identified without any doubt according to the principle of mutual authentication.

Gothaer believes that electronic proof of ID has a lot to offer. “As a participant in the centrally co-ordinated application test for the German national ID card, we have already been working hand-in-hand with Bundesdruckerei and have come to appreciate the company as a competent partner,” says project manager Eric Wiedemann from sales management at Gothaer. “That’s why we are also relying on Bundesdruckerei’s eID Service for real-time operations.” Gothaer customers will soon be able to use their new ID cards in order to enter into online contracts or to request preliminary insurance confirmation.

Ulrich Hamann, CEO of Bundesdruckerei GmbH, is convinced: “This and many other forms of co-operation in the context our new eID Service will allow citizens to rely on improved identity protection and comprehensively verified service provider data. This marks a huge step towards secure identities.”  

5. New ID card

The new ID card contains a security chip. This is where the digital photo and the information visible on the document are stored, i.e., the data of the printed machine-readable zone (back), family name and nee, first name, doctoral degree, date and place of birth, photo, address, nationality, series number as well as the religious name or pseudonym.
Anybody who wishes to additionally protect their ID card against misuse can have two fingerprints stored on the chip when they apply for their ID document. The photo combined with the fingerprint clearly identifies the ID card holder.

If requested, certificate information can be additionally stored on the chip in order to use a qualified electronic signature (QES).

In order to warrant complete data transparency for each and every citizen, all ID card offices have been equipped with reading devices that have been certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). These readers can be used to display all the data stored on the chip.  

6.New ID card


1) How to change from the old ID card to the new one?
The new Law on Identification Cards came into effect on 1 November 2010. Since then, citizens can apply for the new document only. All the old ID cards will continue to be valid until they reach their expiry date. However, citizens can apply for a new ID card at any time.2) Do other countries already have similar documents?
Yes, and these documents are becoming increasingly more widespread throughout the world. In the European Union, for instance, citizens in Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain already have electronic ID cards. However, these cards, which are also referred to as citizen cards, are rooted in other technical infrastructures and therefore cannot be fully compared to the German system. 

3) What does the new ID card cost?
Pursuant to the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s current fee ordinance, the new ID card costs ?28.80. A reduction is available for applicants under the age of 24: for a first-time application, they pay a reduced fee of ?22.80.

4) How long is the new ID card valid?
The new ID card is valid for ten years for document holders over the age of 24. The period of validity for younger document holders is six years.

5) Why is there a chip in the new ID card?
The chip is where the personal information, such as name, address and date of birth, is digitally stored and the document holder can make this information available for the online ID function. The additionally stored biometric data of the facial image (mandatory) and the fingerprints (voluntary) ensure that the document cannot be forged and guarantee that it can be used as a valid travel document in the Schengen territory.

6 ) Can the ID card holder check the data stored on the chip?
Yes. In order to warrant complete data transparency for each and every citizen, all ID card offices have been supplied with reading devices that have been certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). Agency staff can use these modules to display all of the personal data stored on the chip, including the digital passport photo and the fingerprints, if stored.

7) Why does the user need a PIN?
In order to use the online ID function, citizens can rely on their six-digit PIN (personal identification number) to release the document data for transmission to authorised service providers, for instance, for online shopping.

What happens if the ID card holder enters the wrong PIN?
Nothing happens the first time. If entered a second time, the card holder is requested to enter his six-digit access number which is visible on the front of the document. If the wrong PIN is entered three times, the PIN is disabled. In this case, the user can reset the incorrect-use counter by entering his PUK. This number can be used no more than ten times. After this, the citizen can no longer reactivate the PIN himself. Instead, the card holder must go to the ID card office where he can have a new PIN set. This is subject to a fee.

9) What is the purpose of storing fingerprints?
The additional storage of two fingerprints on the security chip of the new ID card is solely a voluntary decision and is used exclusively for sovereign ID functions. This feature allows citizens to identify themselves during sovereign border controls and in their own country, for instance, in dealings with the police. Just like the digital photo, the stored biometric fingerprint data strengthens the link between the ID document and its holder. This reduces the risk of identity misuse.

10) Who is authorised to read out fingerprints?
Only officially authorised bodies, such as the ID-card and passport offices, police enforcement authorities and the customs administration are permitted to read out biometric data pursuant to German data protection legislation. The data forms part of the sovereign ID function. Service providers cannot read out the biometric data within the scope of the online ID function.

11) What happens if an ID card holder does not want to give his fingerprints?
Nothing at all. The fingerprint data is only included in the document when explicitly requested by the citizen. If a citizen does not want this, the new ID card is then issued with all the options for electronic ID but without fingerprint data in the chip.

12) Where are the fingerprints stored?
The fingerprint data remains at the ID card office until the citizen collects his new ID card. The data is then irrevocably deleted and is now only stored on the security chip of the ID card. Bundesdruckerei, which produces the new ID card, does not store the fingerprints either. It is not permitted in Germany to store ID card data.

13) How can the ID card holder sign online using the new signature function?
The new ID card has been prepared for use with the qualified electronic signature (QES) which is legally equivalent to a hand-written signature. Citizen can use the signature function of their new ID card when they have a valid signature certificate.

14) How can citizens obtain a valid signature certificate?
Signature certificates are exclusively available from specialised trust centers or certification service providers (CSPs) and not from the ID card offices. Costs differ here depending on the provider. A list of providers is available on the website of the Federal Network Agency at: www.nrca-ds.de, under “Akkreditierte ZDA” [Accredited CSPs]. In order to integrate a signature certificate, the online ID function of the new ID card must be active. Citizens also need an advanced reader with an integrated PIN pad.

15) What happens to the qualified electronic signature (QES) if the ID card is lost?
The loss of a new ID card with an activated signature function must be reported immediately to the respective trust center so that the applications booked can be revoked. The local ID card offices are not responsible for revoking the signature function even when the ID card holder reports the loss to his office

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