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eIDAS Regulation

What is eIDAS?

eIDAS is the European Regulation for the electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions.  The new Regulation on Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions in the Internal Market (referred to as the eIDAS - electronic IDentification and Authentication Services) was published as  Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on 28 August 2014. Most of its provisions took effect July 1, 2016, and repeals the existing eSignatures Directive. 

Because it is a regulation and not merely a directive (as was predecessor eSignatures), eIDAS is not open to interpretation and represents European Union law.  eIDAS was developed to ensure the ability to safely conduct electronic transactions online when dealing with businesses or public services, allowing both the signatory and the recipient a higher level of convenience and security. 

What is regulated?

eIDAS mandates two primary codes of practice

Interoperability of government issued ID: this section of the eIDAS mandates EU Member States to mutually recognize each other’s electronic identification (eID) systems when accessing online services.  This cross-border recognition makes eID from any EU Member State interoperable between all other Member States. Although this is a mandate for the public sector, the private sector will follow suit if it indeed proves to make business transactions easier, faster and cheaper and truly opens up business opportunities across borders.

Single Digital Market:  While the eSignatures directive guaranteed the admissibility of electronic signatures, eIDAS will go a step further in defining and providing requirements associated with Trust Services to ensure the security of electronic transactions.  With eIDAS, Electronic Trust Services (eTS), including electronic signatures, electronic seals, time stamps, electronic registered delivery service and website authentication, will work across borders and will have the same legal status as paper-based processes.  The goal here is to increase confidence in the safety and reliability of digital transactions, which will lead to growing adoption and usage. 

eIDAS and Electronic Signature

eIDAS recognizes electronic signatures as legally binding and identifies different levels of electronic signature.

  • Electronic Signatures—are basic signatures in electronic form.  With eIDAS, eSignatures are recognized legally and can’t be denied legal acceptance because they are digital.
  • Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES)—require a higher level of security typically met with certificate-based digital IDs.  AdES must be uniquely linked to the signatory, can authenticate the signer and the document, and enable the verification of the integrity of the signed agreement.
  • Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES)—also must be uniquely linked to the signatory, but are further required to be based on qualified certificates.  Qualified certificates can only be issued by a certificate authority (CA) accredited and supervised by authorities designated by EU Member States. Qualified certificates must also be stored on a qualified signature creation device (QSCD), such as a USB token, smart card or a cloud-based hardware security module (HSM). In order to provide qualified eSignature services, a trust service provider must be granted qualified status.

How to Prove Digital Signature Compliance with eIDAS

Common Criteria is an international set of guidelines and specifications for evaluating information security products, specifically to ensure they meet an agreed-upon security standard for government deployments.  Common Criteria (CC) certification is a pre-requisite for qualified digital signatures under the eIDAS Regulation. 

  • Thales’s IDPrime MD 840 and IDPrime MD 3840 smart cards are both CC EAL5+ / PP Java Card certified for the Java platform and CC EAL5+ / PP QSCD certified for the combination of Java platform plus PKI applet. The CC EAL5+ / PP QSCD certification is based on the Protection Profiles EN 419211 part 1 to 6, as mandated by eIDAS Regulation.



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