What is the eIDAS Regulation?
The 52 articles of the eIDAS Regulation replace the previously applicable Directive 1999/93/EC. Although this had established a regulation on electronic signatures, it was not sufficient to represent a comprehensive cross-border framework for secure, trustworthy and easy-to-use electronic transactions. The eIDAS Regulation now on the table strengthens and extends the legal provisions of that original directive.
The eIDAS Regulation: content, objectives, advantages
The eIDAS Regulation literally regulates the use of electronic signatures for the first time in the EU and creates comprehensive legal certainty. The eIDAS Regulation is thus also the fundamental piece of legislation for electronic signatures, which today are used privately by individuals, by public authorities and by companies in internal and external signature processes. With the regulation, the EU has clearly clarified the status of digital signatures compared with handwritten signatures: no signature may be rejected simply because it has been set electronically. According to the European Commission, the eIDAS Regulation creates a predictable regulatory environment for electronic signatures between private individuals, companies and public authorities.
Advantages of the eIDAS Regulation are:
- legal certainty through a uniform legal framework for all member states
- enabling of remote digital signatures also with mobile devices
- transparency and standardization of trust service providers
- reduction of time-consuming administrative processes
Signature types according to the eIDAS Regulation
Standard electronic signature
Advanced electronic signature
Qualified electronic signature
1. The existence of a digital identity, as can be obtained in various identification procedures by private-sector and government providers.
2. A qualified certificate from a state-approved trust service provider, a so-called trust center, whichs confers the signed document its unique legal status.
eIDAS Regulation: Trust Service Providers
Qualified trust centers trigger legally secure qualified signatures by issuing electronic certificates. In Article 24, para. 1, the eIDAS Regulation formulates this core element for the issuance of qualified electronic signatures: “When issuing a qualified certificate for a trust service, the qualified trust service provider shall verify, by appropriate means and in accordance with the relevant national law, the identity and, where applicable, the specific attributes of the natural or legal person to whom the qualified certificate is issued.”
Tasks of trust service providers according to the eIDAS Regulation:
- issuance of qualified certificates for electronic signatures
- electronic time stamps
- validation of electronic signatures
- archiving of electronic signatures
The entire eIDAS Regulation with its 52 articles can be found here.
The digital signature
eSignature, digital signature, electronic signature:
what’s behind it.