PKI Digital Certificates to create trust in online transactions

PKI Digital Certificates to create trust in online transactions

If there is anything that Kenyans fear is online transactions. This fear has led to a number of e-commerce and online market places to close shop at an alarming rate. The fear Kenyans have on online transactions are not based on superstition though. There exist numerous fake online businesses both in Kenya and outside the borders that present themselves as sellers of different commodities but disappear immediately they receive cash from unsuspecting buyers. In order to create trust on online transactions, Public Key Infrastructure has come up with policy measures and modules based on the legal framework to at least protect Kenyans on online transactions initiated and terminated within the country.

The policy and infrastructural framework includes setting up Digital Certificates (Online IDs) recognized by the government that will be used to authenticate users, both buyers and sellers. The digital certificates that will have an expiry period will be issued by Certification Authorities who will in turn be regulated by the CCK – that is CCK shall be the Root Certification Authority.

Buyers will be required to purchase the Digital Certificates by downloading a Digital Certificate form, fill the form, present the form physically to the Certification Authority, be issued with confirmation key, use the confirmation key to download the Digital Certificate, and be able to use the Digital Certificate to transact businesses online.

Although using Digital Certificates for online transactions will not be mandatory, the public will be sensitized on the need to do online business with those who have been issued with Digital Certificates. In addition to having the advantage that the other party one is doing the transaction with is recognized by the authorities, those who will opt for transactions using Digital Transactions will also be able to get compensation in case anything goes wrong that invalidates the transaction. For instance if payment is sent through mobile money but for some reason the product bought did not reach the buyer, the buyer will be compensated of the sum lost.

PKI has called this system the most suitable to bring trust to online transaction that has hitherto received little adoption in the country. More information regarding how PKI works will be available tomorrow.


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