Last week,Wednesday the final exams were supposed to start in NRW. However, due to download problems from the ministry to the schools, the ripcord had to be pulled at 8:30 p.m. on the eve of the exams and the ministry announced: All exams are canceled and postponed for two days. The problem was triggered by the changeover to a new IT infrastructure by the authorities.

The anger among the affected high school graduates, parents and teachers in North Rhine-Westphalia is understandably great about the fact that, out of the blue and at the last minute, the exams were postponed - and on a day that coincides with the announced rail strikes and Sugar Feast. According to Education Minister Dorothee Feller, the measure had become necessary after schools were unable to download the final exams from the portals provided for this purpose.

There are said to have been two main reasons for this: On the one hand, a new IT infrastructure was rolled out the day before by the authorities' IT service provider, which is based on "two-factor authentication" (as in online banking, for example) and which had not been tested beforehand. On the other hand, the agency's "Plan B" allegedly failed because it sent around a download link to access data for the download when it was only 96% uploaded.

Whether this account is true or not is a moot point. What is clear is that because of the failure of the authorities, 72,000 students were deprived of the basis for good preparation for their final exams. At the same time, however, the Ministry of Education must be credited with providing realistic preparation for the time that may lie ahead for students in NRW: For here, too, digitization efforts recently led to most of the administration of the University of Duisburg-Essen being paralyzed for more than two months, students were unable to register for exams or courses, for example, and personal information was leaked onto the Internet after it had been targeted by hackers.

Also affected by hacker attacks as of today is the infrastructure of 80 health insurance companies, such as DAK, because the Essen-based IT service provider Bitmarck had to shut down its entire systems. The extent of the damage is as yet unclear. In addition to the electronic health card, the digital patient files for insureds of Allianz, Signal Iduna, hkk, DAK, KKH, Mobil BKK, svlfg, BKK and IKK, among others, are also affected. On the issue of "digital patient files", this may not be so tragic at present, as less than 1% of patients have one, but according to plans by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), this is to increase to 80% (!) by 2025. His plan to achieve this is an unsolicited collection of data by the end of next year for all those with statutory health insurance, unless you explicitly object. Where this "digitization at any price" will lead sooner or later is clear in view of the other "track record" of the "digitization projects": hackers will have access to very sensitive data - such as medical histories, X-ray images, pregnancy records, etc. - and at the same time, because everything is digital, it will not be possible for doctors or others to access vital information at a time when the infrastructure is not accessible. Leaving aside the fact that commercial companies, such as Google via its Playstore and Apple via its App Store, will of course find it easier to access the data from the apps of the health insurance companies or from the smartphone and to exploit it for their algorithms and all interested parties, as they already do with all the data they get their hands on.