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Thursday, 19.05.2022
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

The Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed in the Upper House of Parliament yesterday, in just under eight minutes and without a word of opposition.

Senate Majority Leader, Senator Lennox Weston described the short amendment as “some house cleaning” and briefly summarised its aim.

“Basically … this is some house cleaning (and) window cleaning to make sure that when we use electronic data we can make sure it’s authentic. We have some flexibility in filing electronic data and it’s preparing us for when we go to an e government platform,” he said.

The amendment was first introduced to Parliament in June by Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas who assured other members that it would increase “the ease of doing business” in Antigua & Barbuda.

The Bill essentially regularises the modern way in which electronic transactions are done via exchanging information and certifying its authenticity through electronic signatures. According to Nicholas, electronic signatures would not have previously had “the force of law”.

When contacted, Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Yves Ephraim explained that an electronic signature was not a literal signature in the same sense as a signature scribed with a pen.

Ephraim said that ‘electronic signatures’ are part of the modern data encryption framework that ensures information and documents can be sent and received securely over unsecured or ‘untrusted’ networks such as the internet.

The ‘signature’ is actually a mathematical encryption scheme applied to data for demonstrating the authenticity of digital messages or documents. The system includes third parties (global ICT firms) called certificate authorities (CA) who act as intermediaries in the encryption and decryption process.

Those CAs further guarantee the authenticity of information received. The system is often a built-in feature of modern ICT and many people access the framework unknowingly. However, parties must establish their electronic signature and corresponding framework initially.

Nicholas said that the introduction of the formalised use of digital signatures in public bodies would be done gradually. The first two public bodies that will benefit from the change are the Antigua & Barbuda Intellectual Property Office and the Land Registry.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Kieron Murdoch

Quelle/Source: Antigua Observer, 12.07.2016

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