Gov't implements e-signature infrastructure

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Gov't implements e-signature infrastructure

Saturday, June 27, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government has commenced implementation of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI) project, which will enable individuals and entities to utilise e-signatures to transact business digitally with all State agencies in a safe environment.

The NPKI system incorporates policies, institutions and technologies designed to manage the distribution, authentication and revocation of digital certificates — the electronic equivalent of a handwritten signature or seal — which will be issued by the certifying authority — e-Gov Jamaica Limited.

The undertaking is central to the administration's mission of transitioning Jamaica to a digital society.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister Fayval Williams, who made the announcement during the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce E-Signature Legislation Webinar on Friday, said the project is expected to be completed by early 2021.

Williams said the undertaking will enable trusted electronic identities for individuals and services, and make it possible to implement strong authentication, data encryption and digital signatures, based on the certifying authority.

Additionally, she said it will enable secure remote access, wireless security, and data cryptography.

“The public key infrastructure is the most trusted security framework used by governments worldwide, and represents a significant development in the transformation of a digital society,” she noted, citing Jamaica's Electronic Transactions Act, 2006, as a principal supporting legislation.

Williams explained that the Act will facilitate digital transactions by way of a reliable electronic document; promote the development of the legal and business infrastructure necessary to implement secure electronic commerce; eliminate barriers to electronic commerce resulting from uncertainty over writing and signature requirements; and promote public awareness of the integrity of electronic documents through the use of encrypted signatures to ensure the authenticity.

It will also establish uniformity of legal rules and standards regarding the authentication and integrity of digital documents and facilitate electronic filing of information with Government agencies and statutory bodies to promote the efficient delivery of services.

“So you can imagine how pleased we were to have launched in January of this year, the implementation of the NPKI — the enabling environment for electronic transactions,” she stated.

The minister said the project's roll-out “will transform Jamaica's cybersecurity profiles exponentially over the coming months”.

Williams noted that on completion of the project, Jamaica will have the infrastructure to facilitate the generation of key inputs such as e-passports; ministries, departments and agencies will be able to send secure e-mails that are digitally signed; and the foundation for the implementation of digital and global IDs will be in place.

“The heart of the NPKI is a digital transformation of the public sector… the conduct of Government-to-business and business-to-business and Government-to-citizen transactions,” she added.

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