Electronic authentication such as a digital certificate can serve the function of online identity verification. In addition, digital certificates can encrypt sensitive information in online transactions. Here you can learn more about electronic authentication, what digital certificates do, the digital certificates recognized in Hong Kong and some of the online Government services that accept them.
Electronic authentication is the process of establishing confidence in user identities presented electronically in the cyber world. You can learn more about the safety, guidance and common practices in the conduct of electronic authentication in the website below.
Digital Certificates and Their Uses
A digital certificate is a form of electronic record that serves as an identification of who you are in conducting online transactions. Under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Cap. 553) (ETO), electronic or digital signatures have the same legal status as paper-based signatures.
For transactions not involving Government entities, a signature requirement under the law can be met by any form of electronic signature including digital signature so long as it is reliable, appropriate and agreed by the recipient. For transactions involving Government entities, a signature requirement under the law can be satisfied by a digital signature supported by a recognized digital certificate.
Digital certificates can be carried in Hong Kong ID Cards, installed in your PCs and other storage devices where appropriate. Usually, your digital certificate is protected by a password of your own and you will be asked to enter your password before accessing your digital certificates for online transactions.
Digital certificates are issued by certification authorities. Hongkong Post Certification Authority is a recognized certification authority by virtue of the ETO. A commercially-run certification authority can also apply to the Government Chief Information Officer to become a recognized certification authority on a voluntary basis. Recognition will only be granted to those certification authorities and digital certificates that have reached a standard acceptable to the Government.