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    Revealing the executive bylaw of the e- signature law

    Cairo, 10 June 2005

    H.E. Dr. Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, issued today decree no. 109 for the year 2005 concerning the revealing of the executive bylaw of law number 15 for the year 2004 to regulate e-signature in Egypt and the establishment of the Information Technology Industry Development Authority (ITIDA).

    The regulation and its executive bylaw were published in the ‘Al Wakaae Al Masreya’ newspaper, issue 115 published May 25, 2005. The e-signature law is considered the first Egyptian legislation to regulate electronic transactions in Egypt, since e-signature is considered a cornerstone and the predominant factor in electronic transactions whether governmental, commercial or administrative. This legislation enables the use of electronic tools in the release, exchange and saving of documents to ensure customers’ rights and guarantee the credibility and legality of electronic transactions at the same time. Since the issuing of this law, there existed no lawful liability for e-signature before the law. Also, by virtue of the e-signature law, the Information Technology Industry Development Authority was established with the objective of performing a qualitative shift in the information technology industry in Egypt and reinforcing the establishment of the competency capability required to place Egypt on the export map of information technology and its application.

    Eng. Mohamed Omran, President of the Information Technology Industry Development Authority, said that upon issuing the executive bylaw of law number 15 for the year 2004 for e-signature, it has become effective and hence the authority has invited companies to apply for permits to work as digital trust certificate issuers for the business sector, citizens and all those interested in acquiring an e-signature. The application of e- signature is expected to add high credibility to electronic financial transactions and e-commerce in Egypt.

    Worth mentioning is the fact that the law extends to include civil, commercial and administrative transactions that can be electronically performed, which helps leveraging the capabilities of administrative work, empowering the e-commerce and leveraging governmental performance to match the pace of the age we live in.

    The bylaw contains 24 articles in addition to a transient and technical attachment. The bylaw clarifies the transient and technical regulations of the know how to form a system to establish the implementation of constructing the e-signature system, in specific, the system should rely on the public and private key encryption technology . Electronic, non-clone-able cards, with PIN code protection should be used to keep the details of constructing the electronic key and electronic trust certificate safe.

    The bylaw also includes the transient and technical regulations necessary so that the legal confirmation argument materializes for the e-signature, the e-writing, and the e-documents in the scope of the civil and commercial dealings and the administrative ones, so that they have the same binding legal stature in confirmation to those of the traditional signing, writing and traditional documents agreed upon in the confirmation law in the civil and commercial articles .

    The bylaw also defines the rules and procedures of applying to get a license in order to practice issuing electronic trust certificates from the Information Technology Industry Development Authority, and that this organization is the higher electronic authentication authority that undertakes the job of issuing the encrypted keys to the licensed parties. The organization offers the service of inspection and verification of the accuracy of the data of the electronic signing establishment and the service of the examination of the e-signature, and that at the request of the respective parties. Also the organization is concerned with offering the transient consultation and the experience work regarding the disputes that arise between the concerned parties through the activities of e-signatures and electronic dealings. The bylaw also clarified that the organization has the role of approving the foreign authorities responsible for issuing the electronic trust certificates and allocating the foreign testimonies equivalent to the national testimonies.

    Technical and legal experts from governmental authorities, universities, private sector, state council and ministers’ councils have participated in putting this bylaw together after studying and comparing the most important international experiments and experiences.

    The most important application fields of e-signature are:
    The electronic government : It includes the governmental administrative dealings and the services to the citizens in general and from it the different permits and the services that the customs , taxes and civil affairs offer, and also what is offered to the governmental authorities from requests which according to this law, it is possible that they take place through electronic documents which are issued by the relative appointed authorities and the e-signature which takes place through public officials in these authorities which bestows on those governmental electronic documents the attribute of the official document because of the use of the public employee to sign them electronically . This aims at raising the efficiency of the administrative work, and the improvement of the level of the performance of the governmental services.
    The e-commerce dealings: This includes all dealings of any commercial nature in fields like sales, other different kinds of contracts, other commercial legal behavior, import, export and the rest of the contracting, the reservation of travel tickets and hotels, and all kinds of bank dealings that take place in the form a signed electronic document signed by an e-signature.
    The electronic civil dealings : This includes all electronic dealings of civil nature whether regarding all parties or just one party, excluding the concept of commercial dealing, and obviously stresses on the importance of granting the e- signature the necessary legal binding attribute in order to encourage civilians, not the merchants, in using this medium in dealing with each other and with the merchants, through communication and information networks including the Internet .
    The facilitation of using e-signature supports the change into a paperless society, in which each dealer’s money and interests are safe. Also the expansion in the use of the e- signatures raises the efficiency of administrative work and helps the improvement of the level of the performance of the governmental services and adds to the competitive merits that Egypt enjoys under the new international commercial regime, which electronic dealings became a main feature in it and a significant mark referring to it.

    Dr. Sherif Hashem, vice-president of the Information Technology Industry Development Authority, announced that issuing the executive regulation and the commencement of Information Technology Industry Development Authority in taking the steps necessary for the activation of the e-signature and the establishment of the higher authority of approval for the electronic execution in Egypt represent a big step for the bestowal of more credibility and the protection of the dealers rights with the electronic execution, and hence Egypt has come a long way in the support and development field of the electronic works and the electronic government so that it takes its pioneer role in the region for the support of the commitment with power by the information society .

    It is worth mentioning that the Software Engineering Competence Center (SECC) has been recently added to the Information Technology Industry Development Authority. This step starts the activation of the center’s goals that include developing and improving the performance of companies working in the programming field in Egypt in order to increase their ability to export and compete world wide.

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