The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has amended the e-signature law, adding regulations on online signatures and time stamp fingerprints.
The move comes in accordance with a decision by Minister Amr Talaat amending regulations under Law15/2004 on e-signatures and establishing the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).
Talaat said that the law is the first to regulate Egypt’s electronic transactions. It legalises editing, exchanging and saving documents online whilst preserving the rights of beneficiaries, and guarantees the credibility of online transactions.
He added that these amendments, which were made in the provisions of the regulations, are part of the desire to expand usage of electronic signature technology for individuals and institutions, in line with technological developments in this field.
The amendments boost Egypt’s digital transformation processes, whilst raising administrative efficiency and upgrading government services. It will also expand the activities of companies working in this field in the coming period.
Electronic signature capabilities allow for citizens and institutions to undertake government transactions remotely, in turn reducing pressure on government agencies.
Other amendments include new services, such as providing unique, easily distinguished electronic seals which allows for the legal person or the seal’s originator to be identified.
The amendments also include the addition of the electronic time stamp fingerprint services, which link the date and time to the electronic editor and preventing invisible data changes.
The executive regulation amendments also include renaming smart cards as “electronic signature tools”, whilst introducing a more secure electronic medium used with electronic signatures. Bringing in smart cards and separate electronic chips will allow for an expanded use in electronic signature applications using the latest technological means.
Amendments to Article 3 of the law also stipulate that the technique used to create the root code keys for electronic certifying bodies must not be less than 4096 electronic letters (bits).
By introducing electronic signatures, it is expected that citizens will not only be able to use them in government transactions without the need for paper documents, but also to update and revise their data. The service will be used as part of the smart citizen card, which will provide citizens with food subsidies and health insurance services, as well as digital payment services, as a first stage.
It is planned that the e-signature system will also be used in government and private services delivery offices. This will occur through the launch of service packages for documentation, supply, traffic, and investment scheduled for next July, as well as in the Ministry of Finance’s electronic bill system.
It will also be used in digital government transactions that need to be linked to the national number system and commercial registry. This provision was completed in May in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.