The German Federal Printing Office and the relevant political institutions are currently looking for solutions to implement digital certificates without using blockchain technology. After initial tests and the discovery of numerous security vulnerabilities, the original idea is thus abandoned.
Start postponed several times
The start of issuing digital report cards in schools has already been postponed several times. This was mainly due to tests that had revealed deficiencies. Now the responsible bodies are apparently facing a fundamental change: blockchain technology, which was previously envisaged as a solution, is not to be relied on. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur first reported on this, referring to the digital ministry in Saxony-Anhalt. Digital credentials are envisioned by the Online Access Act, which is intended to advance the digitization of public administration. Saxony-Anhalt is responsible for all digitization measures in the field of education prescribed there. Technical implementation is being handled by Bundesdruckerei and Govdigital, an association of public IT service providers at the federal, state and local levels.
Widespread criticism of blockchain use
There had already been criticism of the use of blockchain technology shortly after the announcement of the intention to go down this path. In a polemical article on golem.de, for example, there was early criticism that simpler and at the same time more secure technical solutions were available. In addition, various security gaps were discovered. For example, it was possible to access the API and issue certificates without authentication. Even relatively trivial security vulnerabilities were discovered. Bundesdruckerei then announced improvements, but wanted to stick to the technology used for the time being: “Due to the reports on Twitter, the test system was taken offline for the time being in consultation with the client in order to review the reports and initiate further improvements. The error analysis is currently still running. The results will be incorporated into the further optimization of the system and the test will be continued thereafter.” Now it is doing an about-face and moving away from blockchain. A new system is to be unveiled in October, followed by testing.