German firms will streamline online login with a European bent

The plan is to create a 'master key' for users to access sites and services across industries

IDG

IDG

Several German firms are taking a stab at a single login process for accessing different online services -- an approach that could compete with U.S. offerings. 

The companies, which include automaker Daimler, insurance provider Allianz and Deutsche Bank, among others, announced the joint effort on Monday. Their goal: to create a platform that revolves around a “master key” for users that can access sites and services across industries.

The platform will not only make online registration simpler, but also more secure, they said. To do so, the companies will incorporate top standards in data security, and comply with local European Union data protection laws.

The effort will join other mainstream solutions designed to make online registration easy, removing the hassle of coming up with a new login for each service. U.S. internet companies such as Google and Facebook, for instance, already let consumers use their online IDs to sign on to third-party apps.

However, Monday’s effort represents a European response to other players in the industry, the German companies said. It seeks to attract more partners, like those in the retail, e-commerce, aviation and telecommunication sectors.

The German companies will finalize their proposal and set a launch date for it in the coming weeks. It’ll arrive as logging into websites with platforms like Facebook and other U.S. services has become popular among users, said Patrick Salyer, CEO of Gigya, a provider of online ID management technologies.

For example, 66 percent of U.K. users have logged into a website with their social media accounts at Facebook, Twitter or another third-party provider, according to a 2015 Gigya survey.

The effort by the German companies will mean European users will probably have another trusted method to login to websites.

“It’s great to have another option out there,” Salyer said. “They are taking a more European bent around privacy and security.”

However, making this new German platform mainstream might not be easy. “You need to have enough consumers adopt it,” he said. “Obviously, Facebook and Google had a pretty unique advantage because of their existing user base.”

The German firms will also have to pay attention to security. Creating a master key for so many user services may sound convenient, but it can also be serious threat, if it ever falls into the wrong hands. 

No technical details behind the platform have been announced, but the German companies said that preliminary negotiations are already underway to bring on board several other companies, including Deutsche Telekom.  Their platform will also be open to other services run by the German government and to digital payments. 

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