Written by: Halka Jaklová
Photo by: René Jakl
Would you rather not waste time with personal visits to offices or trips to the post office? The new possibility of communicating with officials over the internet could be the solution for you.
O ne can now correspond with and, mainly, get information from many authorities online. If you would like to execute an official application you will as a rule need an electronic signature in the form of a so-called qualified certificate (or “recognized e-signature”). These are issued by accredited certification services providers, of which only one, První certifikační autorita (First Certification Authority), is as yet active. By about the middle of this year Česká pošta should also be authorized to issue recognized e-signatures, which should help bring the price of this service down. Individuals and employees can get recognized e-signatures if they meet the conditions set forth in a contractual document known as a certification policy. The document informs the certificate’s user of the provided service, and it can be found at the service provider’s web site.
The procedure for acquiring a recognized e-signature is as follows: At the provider’s web site, fill in the application for a certificate, setting up a twin set of data (for forming and verifying the signature). You keep the data for forming it, which remains your secret, and the verification data are intended for publication. Take the completed application on a diskette to the provider, who verifies your identity and closes a contract on the issuing of a certificate with you. If you request an employee’s certificate you must document your employer’s existence. The provider then sends you your certificate by post or e-mail. You can keep your half of the data on your computer’s hard drive, a diskette, a chip card, or on some other portable, secure module (such media are also generally called “tokens”). Then just create a document or fill in an application, and one click opens the “Electronic Signature” application, which makes the connection automatically.
So far electronic agendas in offices have been only partially implemented, for submitting tax declarations or pension registrations, or for reports from so-called small firms to the Czech Social Security Administration, as well as applications for state social support. Additionally, as of this January district and municipal offices were to be able to receive and register electronic mail in electronic mail rooms. On 1 January 2006, we’ll have the revolutionary option of petitioning for and even executing administrative proceedings electronically.