E-Signatures

EU Regulation Established July of 2016 Regarding Electronic Signatures

 

Today, with the advancement of technology, more and more businesses are conducting their business electronically. Contracts are being written up and signed electronically. The advancement in technology demands advancement in the law, and so this new EU regulation that was brought into force on the 1st July 2016 increases the viability of e-signatures.

 

  • This EU regulation was brought in to replace the Electronic Commerce Act 2000.

 

  • It now requires all member states of the EU to accept any means of e-ID as a legitimate form of identification.

 

  • Each of the three forms of electronic signature outlined below are all now admissible as evidence in EU courts.

 

  • This means that E-Signatures cannot be denied purely on the basis that they are in an electronic form.

 

  • The new regulation distinguishes three types of electronic signatures:

 

Simple E-Signatures

These are data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and are used for signing purposes, such as typed signatures.

 

Advanced E-Signatures

These are electronic signatures which are uniquely linked to the signatory. They are capable of identifying the signatory and are designed using signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his/her sole control.

 

Qualified E-Signatures

These are electronic signatures created by a ‘qualified electronic creation device’ and are based on a ‘qualified certificate’ for e-signatures.

 

  • Other electronic services covered by eIDAS include electronic seals (for companies), electronic time stamps, electronic documents, certainty of qualified cross-border electronic delivery and website authentication.

 

  • The eIDAS Regulation requires EU Member States to designate a supervisory body to oversee qualified trust service providers.

 

  • The Regulation also introduces an EU ‘Trust Mark’ for qualified trust services. Once a trust service provider has acquired ‘qualified’ status from the national supervisory body, it may use the EU Trust Mark to indicate this status.