India Invites Neighbours To Sign Up For Root CA

New Delhi: | Updated: Jan 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
In a bid for the early mover advantage in creating a root certifying authority (CA) for digital signatures, India is planning to rope in neighbouring countries including Mauritius, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh to use its root infrastructure and regulatory framework for rolling out digital signature in their homeland.

This would mean that Indian root CA in India can be shared by the CAs of these countries as their own root CA. Certifying authorities are licensed to provide digital signature certificates to other CAs, companies and individuals. The offer to share the root CA is being made to these countries through the diplomatic channel and the Indian ambassadors positioned in these neighbouring countries are taking up the matter with respective governments, said a highly placed source close to CCA office in India.

When contacted, controller of certifying authority (CCA) in India K N Gupta confirmed that these countries had been approached and offered root CA facilities. We are not looking for any commercial gains. The idea is to have an interoperable technology framework in the regios so that the digital certificates issued in one country are valid in other countries as well without any technological or regulatory problem, said Mr Gupta.

We have already invested substantial time and effort in creating the root infrastructure, which can be used by other countries for introducing digital signatures to their citizens. It will save substantial time and effort on their part, added Mr Gupta.

On the home front, digital signatures are all set to be introduced in the judiciary system of India. Taking a lead in this direction, the Karnataka government has decided to implement a digital signature based system for the judges to use digital signatures in their internal processes. Leading software company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has also been engaged to execute the pilot project.

The technology will primarily used for publishing court judgments on the Internet so that it can reach the people concerned in time and can be downloaded by them as an authenticated copy. Sometimes it takes weeks for a hard copy of a judgement to reach the government department concerned resulting in unnecessary delays in taking action as per the judgment. With this technology, the judgment can be made available on the same day anywhere and to anybody, Mr Gupta said.

The project, when implemented in its full form, will speed up the legal process. It will also save substantial time and paper required for legal processes now-a-days.