Hongkong Post e-Cert

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Date: 17 April 2003

Hongkong Post Announces Appointment of Miss Miriam Yeung and Mr Ekin Cheng as e-Cert Ambassadors to Drive Adoption of e-Cert for Hong Kong's Smart Identity Cards

Thursday, 17th April, 2003, Hong Kong – Hongkong Post today announces the appointment of two pop stars, Miriam Yeung and Ekin Cheng, as Ambassadors to raise public awareness among all Hong Kong identity card holders of the option to embed an e-Cert in the memory chip of the new smart ID cards for one year free of charge in the coming HKSAR Smart Identity Card Replacement Exercise.

Hongkong Post is seeking to capitalise on the popularity of Miriam and Ekin, both being well-recognised icons in the local music and movie industries, to encourage Hong Kong's residents to learn more about the e-Cert and the option to embed it in smart ID cards for one year of free usage.

The launch of the free one-year e-Cert option is a key part of the HKSAR Government's Smart ID Card Replacement Exercise, which is scheduled to commence in mid-2003. To make it more convenient to opt in for the e-Cert, Hongkong Post will set up special service counters at the Immigration Department's Smart Identity Card Centres for applicants to complete the application for the e-Cert. When they collect their new smart ID card, the e-Cert will have already been embedded in it. Applicants can also register in advance via the Internet on the Hongkong Post website, by post, by fax or in person at post offices.

Similar to the ID card in the physical world, the e-Cert acts as the online identity in the cyber world. The e-Cert can be used to generate a digital signature which enjoys the same legal status as a handwritten signature under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Cap. 553). The e-Cert can be used to encrypt a message for security purposes. It can also be employed to protect electronic messages transmitted over an open network such as the Internet from being tampered with or intercepted.

Mr Allan Chiang, Postmaster General of Hongkong Post, said: "With the e-Cert, the public can now feel more secure and relaxed when undertaking online activities such as e-banking, online stock trading, online payments, online auctions, e-government services and many online entertainment services, etc. We are confident that more online services that will require the use of the e-Cert will be launched with the build up of a critical mass of e-Cert embedded smart ID cardholders."

"Since it began operating on the trading fund model, Hongkong Post has aspired to be an outstanding public service organisation. As a trusted third party and public organisation, Hongkong Post is well positioned to offer the e-Cert and its related Certification Authority services," said Mr Chiang. "We are proud to be able to play a role in fostering e-commerce in Hong Kong and building a secure open common interface for e-business and e-transactions which is crucial to Hong Kong's development as a leading digital city. We are confident that the offer of one year's free use of the e-Cert on smart ID cards will engender the growth of a critical mass of users, which will in turn encourage industry initiatives to introduce more applications or services that ride on the e-Cert embedded smart ID card."

It is expected that more and more smart-ID-card-reader-equipped devices and computers will emerge so that Hong Kong residents will be able to use the e-Cert embedded in their new smart ID cardholders to access secure electronic services truly anytime and anywhere.

To educate the public about the functions of the e-Cert embedded smart ID card, Miriam and Ekin will appear in a soon-to-be-launched Announcement of Public Interests TV advertisement that calls on the general public to adopt the e-Cert. The Cantopop stars will also be shown in a wide range of publicity materials to enhance public awareness of the e-Cert.

Before the conclusion of today's news conference, Mr. Chiang presented a Certificate of Appointment to both Miriam and Ekin as token of appreciation of their support and contribution to the promotion of e-Cert on smart ID cards.

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