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    PM Nazif Witnesses the Launch of E-Signature in Public and Private Sectors

    Cairo, 28 September 2009

    Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif witnessed today at the Smart Village the launch of E-Signature services for the public and private sectors, marking the e-signature authorization by Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).

    The launch authorizes Ministry of Finance and a number of companies to offer e-signature authentication services to governmental entities, public sector companies and individuals in Egypt.
    The event was also witnessed by Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel and Minister of Finance Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali, First Assistant to Minister of State for Administrative development and representatives of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Ministry of Finance and private sector companies and banks.

    The E-Signature law reflects the Government's belief that facilitating IT tools and applications in using e-signature supports a transformation into a non-paper world where the security of people's money and papers is further guaranteed.

    In addition, the expansion in the use of e-signature raises the competence of administrative operations and develops the performance of governmental service provision conforming to the modern era. This in turn adds to Egypt's competitiveness in view of the new global commercial system featured by electronic transactions. 

    The electronic signature is the pillar and greatest common factor in e-transactions, whether governmental, commercial or administrative ones. Based on this law, electronic tools can be used in issuing and exchanging documents, preserving rights and maintaining credibility.

    Amongst the most important areas of applications and usage of the e-signature are: e-government services, including governmental, administrative transactions, and other services offered to citizens in general like the collection of taxis, customs fees and the services of Civil Status Department.

    The electronic authentication system is also utilized in the following: e-commerce transactions, which include all the transactions of a commercial nature such as the various technical areas of sales, other contracts and legal acts, commercial import and export activities, booking tickets and hotels, banking transactions of all kinds made in the form of electronic forms.

    Moreover, the e-signature can be applied to whatever requests presented before governmental entities that can be undertaken via documents available on their websites. After the completion of procedures, the documents can be signed by public employees at these entities to give the documents an official form.

    According to E-Signature Law number 15 for 2004 and its executive bylaw (issued by Ministerial Decree number 109 for 2005), three Egyptian companies have been certified the ISO 27001 for information security. The companies are: Security and Network Services (SNS), Misr for Clearing, Settlement and Central Depository (MCSD) and Egyptian Co. For Digital Signature & Information Security – Egypt Trust.

    The law and its executive bylaw cover the necessary transient and technical regulations so that the legal confirmation argument materializes for e-signature, e-writing, and e-documents in the scope of civil and commercial and administrative operations. Owing to this, an e-signature can have the same binding legal status as a traditional signature.

    The bylaw defines the rules and procedures to form a system for the data required for designing an e-signature. This system is based on smart cards that are not liable to counterfeits, and protected with a PIN code to save an electronic signature creation data and the authentication certificate.

    The bylaw also defines the rules and procedures of applying to acquire a license from ITIDA in order to be allowed to issue electronic trust certificates. ITIDA is the higher electronic authentication authority that undertakes the job of issuing the encrypted keys to the licensed parties.

    Additionally, ITIDA is the entity concerned with offering the transient consultation and the expertise concerning any disputes arising between the concerned parties through the activities of e-signatures and electronic dealings.

    Providers of e-signature services are connected through a Root-CA authority established at ITIDA. The Root-CA facilitates for connecting with service providers in other countries following the regulations and procedures defined by law.

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