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What is PKI?

Public-Key Infrastructure

The comprehensive system required to provide public-key encryption and digital signature services is known as a public-key infrastructure (PKI).  The purpose of a public-key infrastructure is to manage keys and certificates, which are used for identification, entitlements, verification, and privacy.  By managing keys and certificates through a PKI, an organization establishes and maintains a secure and trustworthy networking environment.  A PKI enables the use of encryption and digital signature services across a wide variety of applications.  As organizations look to gain competitive advantage by improving their products and services, technology related to digital signatures and security of information is an attractive option.  In the past few years, public-key technology has become the preferred means for providing stronger levels of identification, privacy, verification and security management capabilities.  Through encryption, public-key technology provides confidentiality.

State of Illinois Digital ID

After completing a registration process the citizen will be issued a digital ID (also refered to as a digital certificate) that is quite literally his or her "key" to electronic government.  This digital ID will enable a citizen to identify or authenticate himself to receive personalized electronic services, digitally sign forms to be submitted, and send or receive sensitive information in an encrypted form to protect privacy while interacting with any participating state government entity.