Kenyan Government Commissions National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

The Kenya government has commissioned a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to help authorize and authenticate information systems in the country. The project is being implemented by Korean company Samsung SDS which recently won the implementation tender. The Kenya ICT board states that the national PKI is based on laws and regulations already existent in the country. The initiative has been set up to issue securely signed digital certificates through a trusted certificate authority. Currently many private companies in the country use self-signed certificates to authenticate digital content.

The national PKI will be used to identify and verify Kenyan citizens online. This will ensure secure electronic transactions and business efficiency in the digital realm. With digital signatures, the government hopes that Kenya will build a significant competitive edge by gaining access to services such as e-Government. Therefore one would be able to be issued with their drivers licence through online information systems. Other sectors of the economy set to benefit from the national PKI include financial institutions and medical bodies.

Since everyone will be issued with a unique public key, cybercrime may become easier to track. But the same may apply to ordinary citizen with the ability to identify everyone on the internet, the government may increase its online surveillance. This would constitute an intrusion into its citizens’ private lives. The government however allays these fears, saying that the constitution protects every citizens privacy.