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How does a digital certification work in Brazil?

16/10/2019

Nowadays, it is of utmost necessity to be able to assess with high if not absolute certainty the authorship of a specific act. Written or digital, the function of a signature is an enshrined object in nearly all cultures.

Por Edmar Araújo

Edmar Araújo – Presidente-executivo da AARB

When talking about the universe of new information and communication technologies, the digital signature gains unprecedented relevance precisely because it plays an authoring role in the world wide web.

In Brazil, the use of digital signatures is regulated by the Provisional Measure N°. 2,200-2 of August 24, 2001 and has been since then constituted as a legal act of the Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure (ICP-Brasil).

In other words, we have a valid digital signature that produces the same legal effects as the notarized paper based. All statements shown in digitally signed documents are assumed to be true in relation to their authors.

In order to obtain an ICP-Brasil digital certificate, the interested party (which may be a company or a person), must do so in person and in possession of their documents. The responsibility for checking the data is of the Registration Authority, a subordinate entity to a Certificate Authority.

Although these entities may be public, more than 90% of digital certificates issued in Brazil are done by the private sector.

The interested party may attend a Registration Authority or request a professional to go to them at the best time and place. This professional, known as the Registrar, not only collects all possible biographical data and verifies it with official government sources, but also performs biometric fingerprint and facial collection.

Unfortunately, civil identification in Brazil is one of the most shameful in the world. There is no single registry, the databases of the state identification institutes are not connected, and death control is way too far to be minimally acceptable. As a result, a single person can legally have several IDs.

The face-to-face validation in Brazil avoids the action of embezzlers. It not only gives a relationship between someone and a pair of cryptographic Keys, but it also checks if at that time that person voluntarily and truly wanted to be the titleholder of a digital certificate.

Because of this high precision in checking identities and issuing digital certificates, the relationship between companies and the Brazilian government has been transformed in recent years. Almost all business obligations are submitted online and use ICP-Brasil digital certificates so that the parties are sure of the origin of the documents.

Even though things are going well in the business world, the relationship between citizens and government platforms has a lot to evolve. For now, self-employment professionals like doctors and lawyers have applications for their personal digital certificates. Other than that, there is a huge demand to be fulfilled. It now falls to the State to encourage the digitalization of its relationship channels with the population; on the other hand, the private sector has the mission of meeting demand and making Brazil increasingly digital.

Technically, Brazil is ready

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