Understanding the European Union’s Electronic Signature Law
If you do business in Europe, eIDAS will help you get it better by making your digital transactions valid across the European Union (EU). The eIDAS Regulation simplifies and standardizes eSignatures across EU member states by creating a “Digital Single Market.”
It is much easier for you and your customers to conduct secure digital transactions in your own country and across Europe. Electronic signature laws allow enterprises within the EU to utilize electronic services with a higher degree of ease and trust.
What Exactly Is eIDAS?
In the European Union, electronic signatures are given legal recognition by Regulation (EU) No 910/2014. It’s a replacement for the previous signature directive 1999/93/EC on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. eIDAS stands for “electronic IDentification, Authentication and Trust Services.” It assures progress in online transactions for individuals, businesses, and public administrations in two areas: electronic identification services and trust services.
How Does the eIDAS Impact Electronic Signatures?
The eIDAS ensures that all documents processed with an electronic signature solution are admissible in a court of law and legally binding in the EU. Qualified eSignatures are the equivalent of handwritten signatures, and they cannot be denied legal effect solely because they’re in an electronic form. The eIDAS seeks to create a streamlined market for online transactions and e-commerce using national eID and eSignatures.
What Are the Principles of the “Trust Services” Part of the eIDAS Regulation?
The Regulation sets a clear difference between qualified trust services and non-qualified trust services. Qualified trust services can benefit from legal effects specified in the Regulation and are provided by qualified trust service providers. The eIDAS Regulation establishes, at the national level, a control system of trust service providers, in particular by the designation of a supervisory body in each Member State.
What Are the Qualified Trust Services Provided by the Regulation?
Qualified trust services provided by the Regulation are the following:
- Issuance of qualified electronic certificates for electronic signature, electronic seal and website authentication;
- Electronic time stamp;
- Validation of electronic signatures or seals;
- Preservation of electronic signatures or seals;
- Electronic registered delivery.
What are the Types of Electronic Signatures as defined by eIDAS?
These are the three types of electronic signature defined by eIDAS Regulation:
1.Simple Electronic Signature
The Regulation defines a Simple Electronic Signature (SES) as “data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by a signatory to sign.” It is an electronic form of a signature that a signer applies to a document as evidence of their intent to sign.
2. Advanced Electronic Signature
- The advanced electronic signature must meet specific requirements providing a higher level of signer ID verification, security, and tamper-sealing. eIDAS requires that it is:
- Uniquely linked to the signer;
- Capable of identifying the signer;
- Created using signature creation data that the signer can use under their sole control;
- Linked to the signed data in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.
3. Qualified Electronic Signature
The qualified eSignatures are advanced forms of signatures created using an electronic signature solution based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures. They’re issued by public or private providers who have been granted ‘qualified’ status by the National Competent Authority as indicated in the National ‘Trusted Lists’ of the EU Member State.
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