eIDAS first anniversary deserves a brief review on how this Regulation has changed in many aspects the outlook of the trust services in the European Union.
We analyze the main keys of eIDAS first anniversary:
- The main novelty of this new Regulation is the harmonization of the requirements for the mutual recognition of electronic identification at EU level. Therefore, it repeals the previous Directive 1999/93/EC and the respective national laws.
- The Regulation has created the “EU trust mark”, which clearly distinguishes qualified trust services from other trusted services.
- The Regulation has also introduced the concept of Qualified Trust Services Providers and Electronic Trust Services.
In particular, it has created the following qualified services (those that meet the requirements applicable in Regulation (EU) No 910/2014): electronic signatures and electronic stamps. Electronic signatures are intended for individuals and electronic stamps to legal entities. In addition, it regulates other trusted services such as electronic time stamps, electronic documents, electronic delivery services and website authentication.
Qualified Trusted Service Providers obtain this status through a Conformity Assessment Report and a Supervisory Body must audit them at least every 24 months.
- It specifies new levels of electronic identification, low and substantial. They improve identification mechanisms, such as handwritten signatures on mobile devices or cloud signature solutions.
- The Regulation has introduced the concept of Electronic Signature in three different levels:
– Electronic Signature: The definition remains the same under eIDAS. The electronic signature has legal effects and is admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.
– Advanced Electronic Signature: It allows the unique identification and authentication of the signer of a document and allows checking the integrity of the signed document. The issuance of a digital certificate by a Certification Authority (CA) allows the authentication.
– Qualified Electronic Signature: They are the electronic equivalent of handwritten signatures. Qualified certificates are their foundation. These are the only signatures that ensure the mutual recognition of their validity by all EU Member States.
- Recognition of electronic signatures as evidence at trial within the EU.
Article 25 of eIDAS reflects this concept.It provides that legal effects and admissibility as evidence in court proceedings are not denied to an electronic signature by the fact of being an electronic signature or because it does not meet the requirements. In fact, a qualified electronic signature has a legal effect equivalent to that of a handwritten signature.
- The regulation recognizes admissibility as evidence in a trial and its legal effect for electronic signatures.
- The Regulation creates the EU Trusted Lists. They reflect the Qualified Electronic Trust Services Providers and the services they offer. The TSPs and its services will be qualified if they appear on these lists.
- Regulation of Qualified signature creation devices. They must meet the requirements listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) 910/2014. The European Commission shall establish, publish and maintain a list of qualified electronic signature/stamp devices with the information provided by the Member States.
- Acceptance of remote identification for electronic signatures. Therefore, the on-site identification is no longer needed. To ensure the safety of the process,you can use other identification means. These can be prior on-site identification, qualified electronic seals or qualified electronic signature certificates.
- The Regulation establishes thatConformity Assessment Bodies must audit TSPs every 24 months.
The purpose of the audit is to confirm that both Qualified TSPs and the electronic trust services they provide meet the requirements of eIDAS.
Main benefits of the introduction of eIDAS
The introduction of the eIDAS Regulation was a necessity at EU level. Prior to its entry into force the identity documents of citizens from one Member State were not valid in other EU Member States.
Therefore, eIDAS facilitates the provision of cross-border services and allows companies to operate outside their borders. Ultimately, it benefits citizens, businesses and Public Administration.
The main services where citizens can benefit from eIDAS are the following: paying taxes, public tenders, signing online contracts, economic transactions through electronic banking and online health services, among others.
Source: European Commission