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MITA achieves Qualified Trust Mark for Government Certification Authority

Publication Date: Mar 09, 2018
MITA is the majority shareholder in the Malta Electronic Certification Services Ltd (MECS Ltd) which is the Certification Authority of the Government of Malta, and is responsible for the operations of the CA. MECS Ltd issues Qualified Certificates for the electronic Identity Cards issued to Maltese nationals and for the electronic Residence Permit Cards issued to persons who are residing in Malta.

Qualified Certificates have a special legal meaning under the eIDAS Regulation, and they can produce Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) when the signatures are also based on a Qualified Secure Signature Device (QSCD). QES are equivalent to handwritten signatures. Qualified Certificates are used to establish Authentication mechanisms which afford High Levels of Assurance.

In June 2017, MITA successfully submitted to the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) a Conformity Assessment Report for the CA in line with the requirements of the eIDAS Regulation 910/2014. The report was drawn up by a duly accredited Conformity Assessment Body selected by MITA to carry out an extensive audit of the CA. The MCA later confirmed it had favourably considered the report and retained the CA’s Qualified status on the Malta Trusted List.

The eIDAS Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market adopted in 2014 is a milestone to provide a predictable regulatory environment to enable secure and seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities. The regulation establishes rigorous requirements for Trust service providers issuing Qualified Certificates, and awards the Trust Mark for those entities which are certified to be compliant.

The achievement of the Trust Mark for MECS Ltd. is a sign of confidence for the users of the Qualified Certificates and the Relying Parties. It is testimony of the technical, physical and organisational controls employed by MITA to ensure the issuance of the certificates meets the strict regulatory requirements. The CA is currently relied upon by major public entities in the financial services sector.

The use of the Qualified Certificates is also important to harness the opportunities for interoperability under the eIDAS Regulation, due to the cross-border recognition that is ascribed to Qualified Signatures and High Assurance Authentication. Opening access to the Malta eGovernment services to other Member States’ citizens and businesses is expected to have a direct beneficial effect on the economic growth by making it easier for these citizens and businesses to engage in the Maltese economy. Similarly, Maltese citizens will benefit from accessing other Member States’ services.

MITA remains committed to establishing technical infrastructures which help establish Trust in digital Government locally and across EU borders to benefit the citizens and to increase the efficiency of the Maltese economy.