Cairo ICT 2010


We are increasingly asked to fill out applications online, buy and sell and pay for goods and services. This fast-growing trend is being increasingly applied worldwide leaving an escalating debate about privacy safety, security of e-money-transfer and of information.

Issues like these were discussed by a panel of legal, communication and IT experts yesterday at Cairo ICT. The panel, themed ‘Digital Identity’ focused on the introduction of the electronic signature here in Egypt.

We are currently moving towards a merely digitalized world,” said Sherif Hashem, advisor of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology. “This carries various edges and values. On the one hand, it’s solving the problems of traditional means of documentation and information transfer. On the other hand,there are numerous challenges facing us to ensure the safety of this process.”

To stress the importance of this sort of digital documentation, Hashem used the example of the thousands of documents destroyed in the last month’s floods in Upper Egypt and Sinai. “What happened in Sinai reflects a terrible problem in our traditional documentation means.

People there lost their IDs, their marriage documents their children certificates and other crucial papers that would take extremely long time to be re-established – providing they can be done in the first place,” he added.

Focusing on the pros and cons of digital identity, Mohamed Salah, professor of law at Cairo University, suggested a legal solution for what he called ‘digital alter evil.
Having digital identity is increasingly crucial, but what we can’t ignore is the fact that deceiving identities are everywhere on the web, Salah said. While you can be honest with one fixed identity in the digital world and the real one, others can have dual identities, or even numerous identities.

People who present wrong or incomplete information about themselves are threatening for the digital world’s users. Deceitful information could be used to swindle others, hack websites and accounts, or even directly forge information.

We are now in a dilemma between securing and respecting digital privacy and putting regulations and laws to monitor these activities, Salah added. There must be regulations to manage the use of digital identity. Countries should play the ‘Big Brother’s role’ in monitoring activities in the digital world.