DocauthANTIC enables official documents in Cameroon to be digitally signed thus generating a Quick Response (QR) code in the process which is inserted in the said document digitally. Thanks to this innovative way of sanctioning official documents, users would be able to remotely scan the code on the document using a smartphone, to verify its authenticity and integrity.
In Cameroon, the falsification of documents is common. The Minister of Telecommunications Minette Libom Li Likeng says it is gaining ground. “With the increase in the penetration rate of the internet and social media (in Cameroon), malicious persons take advantage of naïve citizens, forge and circulate fake documents.”
To authenticate, users have to move to the office they believe to be the source of the document - a painstaking process.
Ministries, universities, and examination boards affix scanned signatures on documents and certificates. These documents which bear manual or scanned signatures are highly vulnerable to falsification and cannot be electronically verified; compelling end users to manually check the authenticity of the documents. The Director-General of ANTIC Prof Ebot Ebot Enaw says such checks are “prone to errors, and time-consuming.”
Ebot Ebot says DocauthANTIC “offers some assurance to online users as to the safety of their online transactions and interactions and as such helps build trust and confidence in this space (cyber) necessary for the growth and development of the digital economy.”
DocauthANTIC, according to Ebot Ebot, will promote the digitalization of services in Cameroon and usher in an era of “paperless administration which offers a variety of opportunities in terms of improved productivity, enhanced performance, transparency, and accountability.”
Adoption of digital signatures
ANTIC might have worked in vain if the government and the private sector ignores the use of digitally verifiable signatures on documents. But the agency wants the stakeholders to adopt this change and move in tandem with the transformation triggered by Information Communication Technologies, ICTs.
The agency brought these stakeholders together for a 3-day seminar in Yaoundé from Wednesday, September 29 to Friday, October 2, 2021.
“It is an avenue to exchange ideas that will raise awareness of public and private institutions on the need to secure the production process of the official documents they issue, thereby preventing their falsification,” Ebot Ebot said at the opening of the seminar on Wednesday.
“Its (ANTIC) approach to vulgarise the use of advanced electronic signatures instituted by Cameroon’s cybercrime and cybersecurity legislation comes as an opportunity to kick out fraudsters and lend credence to administrative documents published online,” the Minister of Telecommunications (tutelage of ANTIC) Minette Libom Li Likeng said as she opened the seminar.
Success Stories of ANTIC
Besides introducing the digital signature verification process in the country, ANTIC is using the National Public Key Infrastructure, NPKI to encrypt and “secure sensitive applications of public and private institutions open to the public,” Ebot Ebot said.
He cites the Cameroon online e-Procurement System of the Ministry of Public Contracts which allows for the secure bidding of public contracts online. ANTIC has also secured the Single Window for Foreign Trade Operations platform, on which, online payments of foreign trade transactions are carried out; and the Afriland First Bank online banking platform through which customers can apply for school and university loans online.
Ebot Ebot says ANTIC has created three electronic massaging platforms for three government ministries, all secured using the NPKI.