Regulating Electronic Signature
& Establishing the ITIDA
The success of the e-signature law (Law 15/2004) is dependent on it being part of an included composition covering all areas of the online world. This is why it is critical that there are laws covering e-commerce, e-crime and online financial and economic services. There is a global dispute over the right legislative approach to the Internet. One side calls for absolutely no legislative interference in the Internet on the base that the Internet is an entirely new experience that will generate its own law system that is appropriate for its unique nature. On the other hand, some argue that there is no need for legislative intervention in online transactions, since the Internet is no more than a technological improvement that will submit to the legal system currently in place. This is an oversimplification that displays an ignorance of the challenges that e- transactions pose to current legal systems. Most advanced legal systems have abandoned this thinking. As regards the subject of the e-contract, our legal system was only designed to deal with goods and services, and it is unclear how it should approach e-goods that are bought and sold online, such as songs and computer programs? Do they constitute a special kind of goods or services? What about the place the contract is concluded? The e-contract could be between an English seller, an Egyptian buyer and the exchange could take place in Sudan. What laws do we apply in this case? Which courts have jurisdiction? The parties present another problem. How can our legal system make a ruling on the competence of the parties involved when they concluded their contract having never actually met or known each other? And what about transactions for goods that are treated differently under the law, such as cigarettes and alcohol? What about contracts and transactions made automatically by computers themselves without human intervention? All these questions, the various laws that could be applied in each case, and the contradictory classifications that would result, demonstrate the necessity of appropriate legislation that encourages and protects all parties undertaking online activities in Egypt. The third -- and most persuasive -- approach, is one that seeks to incorporate legislation pertaining to e-transactions into existing laws. This is not a call for a new legal system reserved solely for the Internet and e-transactions, but a legislative intervention that closes the gaps created by the unique nature of the online world. One of the advantages about this new law, which is in accordance with the model law prepared with the assistance of the UNCITRAL in 2001, is that it is the first attempt to tackle the Internet and legislate for e-content, affording it the same status as paper documents. However, the law will not be able to achieve its desired goals without tackling all the issues that have been outlined above. In Taking a closer look on a few of the important articles in this Law we have examined the following: - The Agency for the Development of the Information Technology Industry (ADITA), created in Articles 2 of the law, the agency has been given broad powers over online activities and e-issues, without this authority having any clear basis in law.
The law has given this agency wide- ranging powers, from monitoring to dispute resolution, but these powers are vaguely defined and generally impractical. There needs to be a law regulating various fields within e-commerce. For example, Article 4 of the new law maintains that the regulator has the authority to "issue and renew certificates required for operating e-signature services and other online activities in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations". In the absence of an e- commerce law, what are the laws and regulations governing such e- transactions? The law maintains that the regulator also has the authority to...