In a move to secure online commerce, Kenya’s ICT Board says through the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) it will put in place an online identity and verification system for all online transactions and e-government services.
An initiative of the government through the Ministry of Information and Communication, telecoms regulator the CCK and other agencies, the PKI, a national system to be adopted by the government for digital signature-based certificates for services will be set up by Samsung SDS, a Korean technology firm.
The system will require each citizen to have a unique online certificate to use every time they shop or sell online.
According to Evans Kahuthu, Project Manager Information Security at the Kenya ICT Board: “Electronic signing is the most ensuring method to help solve a lot of the on-line crimes we see such as hacking, identity theft and forgery of sensitive information.”
Kahuthu added that, “Interested individuals will apply for a digital certificate using their name and ID number and later called in for a face-to-face authentication process by the Accredited Certificate Authority. Following the verification process, the applicants will then be authorized to download the digital signatures unique to the PC or USB which is not transferrable.”
Set to be complete in October and to be rolled out to all government ministries and agencies after a pilot at Kenya Revenue Authority, the online certificates will use a cryptographic key to give internet users access to on-line government services, e-commerce and e-banking services.
Speaking about the need for such a service, Francis Mwaura, Senior Assistant Director, and Directorate of E-Government said,“Going forward, we will get into complex, sophisticated and very hard to investigate organized cybercrime. It is therefore important that the government readies itself to tackle these new challenges.”
Samsung SDS Vice President, Sungwon Han said the PKI is important as major government services were going online and there is need of security.
Han said,“Internet users have to struggle with a trade-off between convenience and security. As countries all over the world are making progress in e-government, all offline activities are being changed into online ones like e-commerce, e-banking, e-procurement and e-bidding through the internet.”