Password-free logins to benefit both web services and publishers in Germany


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Earlier this month, Germany’s three largest mobile phone operators Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland and Vodafone Deutschland announced that they have started to incorporate the Mobile Connect system. The system matches users to their mobile phones to enable them to log in to websites and applications securely and quickly without the need to remember usernames and passwords.

Verimi, the cross-industry identity platform founded in 2017, has become Germany’s first Mobile Connect partner. Verimi shareholders include Allianz, Axel Springer, Bundesdruckerei, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Giesecke & Devrient, Lufthansa, Samsung and Volkswagen. 

Proponents of the single login system say the new ‘master key’ system does not only simplify the process of logging onto websites securely, it also challenges the dominance of American tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter. In the past these platforms provided almost all the login solutions for individual online profiles. 

According to the trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) the introduction of Mobile Connect in Germany “is a very important step for both mobile network operators and their customers, as it offers both trust and ease of use in an increasingly complex digital world.” 

The ‘master key’ system offered by Verimi – a combination of the words ‘verify’ and ‘me’ – required users to log onto the platform once using their username and password. Once this has been achieved, logging onto a new application no longer requires personal data to be entered every time. With the implementation of Mobile Connect, this process is further simplified because no username or passwords are required. Identification of the customer takes place via the user’s mobile phone when an SMS is sent to the customer. Mobile Connect explains that as soon as the customer confirms receipt of the SMS, the network operator transmits a ‘pseudonymised customer reference number’ to the portal operator in encrypted form. In this way, the operator can assign the customer a number and grant him or her access to the online service product or service without a password.

This provides a secure alternative to the password-based login procedures on Facebook, Google, Amazon and Co. “This has considerable advantages for providers of digital content as well as portal and shop operators” because it achieves higher completion rates, more sales, and a lower risk of fraud. 

Axel Springer, a FIPP member, has been part of the initiative from the outset and aims to lead the way across Europe. When joining Verimi, CEO Matthias Döpfner said their experience has shown that user-friendly online registration models are a key factor for the success of any digital publisher’s products.



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