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In order for the E-Sign service to be effective as an ‘advanced electronic signature’, E-Sign (UK) td will adhere to the following legislative framework; International compliance agreement.
The Directive is a European Union level legal instrument which directs member states to pass national laws to implement electronic signature technology as stated in the Directive’s rules. It gives flexibility to nations in order to accommodate different cultures giving the possibility of deciding whether to implement or not certain aspects however this flexibility also creates differing national electronic signature frameworks, failing to satisfy its main goal of structuring a harmonised and coherent legal framework across the European Union.
The EU Directive incorporates the technology neutral approach of the UN Model Law on electronic commerce. Moreover it defines two different kinds of electronic signatures:
The simple electronic signature is defined in Article 2.1. as data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication.
The advanced electronic signature such as that used by the E-Sign service is defined in Article 2.2 as an electronic signature, which meets the following requirements,
According to Directive Article 5 concerning legal effects of electronic signatures, currently only the advanced electronic signatures which are “based on a qualified certificate and created by secure signature creation device” such as digital signatures are fully legally equivalent to handwritten signatures, and for other forms of E-Signatures, it states that:
The legal effectiveness is not denied solely on the grounds that it is:
However, this statement gives freedom to the Member States to refuse to recognise electronic signatures for any other reason.
E-Sign also recognises the following piece of legislative framework;
This standard is set out by the United States, and is similar to the EU/UN guidelines, but expands on the application and implementation of the digital signature, as set out below.
Applications: A digital signature algorithm allows an entity to authenticate the integrity of signed data and the identity of the signatory. The recipient of a signed message can use a digital signature as evidence in demonstrating to a third party that the signature was, in fact, generated by the claimed signatory. This is known as non-repudiation, since the signatory cannot easily repudiate the signature at a later time. A digital signature algorithm is intended for use in electronic mail, electronic funds transfer, electronic data interchange, software distribution, data storage, and other applications that require data integrity assurance and data origin authentication.
Implementations: A digital signature algorithm may be implemented in software, firmware, hardware or any combination thereof.