The E-Signature Law; issued in 2004 and established the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), supports Egypt’s e-commerce industry by securing the Internet as a legally viable medium for online financial activities. Simply put, this means that a buyer does not need to physically sign a document when entering into a transaction online.
On 28th September 2009, Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif witnessed the launch of E-Signature services for the public and private sectors and the inauguration of the Egyptian Root-CA trust center, marking the e-signature authorization by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).
ITIDA, as a supervisory body for electronic signature, operates the Egyptian Root CA and the E-Signature CA Licensing Unit.
The Egyptian Root CA
As one of its primary roles, ITIDA operates the Egyptian Root Certificate Authority (Root CA) according to the highest security standards offering a continuous 24/7 operation (based on the means of a second hot-standby Trust Center).
The national Root CA is the trust anchor for all relying parties within that domain. Furthermore, the national Root CA is the legal and national base upon which all IT applications, E-commerce and E-business Transactions will be affected. It also provides cross recognition across Egypt and to other Root CAs in different nations.
The national Root CA key functions:
Issues digital certificates for licensed certificate service providers and publish them to be available 24/7.
Helps to prove or deny the validity of digital certificates of the licensed Certificate authorities.
Root CA has the rights to stop the operation of any CA in case of security deficiencies.
Managing the CRL containing revoked CSPs certificates.
Working as TSA (Time Stamping Authority) for CSPs.
Backing up E-Signature creation data of Certificate Service Provider to maintain the availability of the service in case of Failure or Bankruptcy of one of the CSP’s.
Responsible for interoperability between other countries providing a point of communication between Egypt and other nations in relations of E-signature.
Auditing all the PKI technical requirements of CSP’s against the Egyptian executive directives and all the updated international standards.
Offers technical consultations to all the community in the field of Information Security especially in Public key Infrastructure.
The E-Signature CA Licensing Unit
The E-Signature CA Licensing Unit is set up to audit the E-Signature service providers companies in Egypt, address complaints, offer technical counseling in collaboration with the Root CA panel, and mediate between disputing parties, forming part of the ICT Industry ombudsman within ITIDA framework.
The E-Signature CA Licensing Unit licenses a limited number of E-Signature Service Providers (ESPs) in Egypt, in order to provide e-signature services, issue digital certificates and corresponding electronic signatures, for citizens and private sector companies’ clients. The CA Licensing Unit’s main functions include managing the application process of CSPs, and implementing processes for licensing and auditing the providers.
E-Signature Licensing Activities:
ITIDA has been granting a license for four companies in 2006
In October 2009, one of the four licensed companies (SNS) was awarded the permission to start working as E-signature Service Provider.
List of licensed companies with contact information: