Any electronic signature will do

Julian Inza debuts as one of our first guest bloggers. Julian is a recognized expert in digital signatures and security. He has an impressive CV which can be summarized as “he invented the digital signature sector in Spain”. In 1995, he designed Spain’s first Certification Authority and, subsequently, he’s been involved in nearly all the others (Banesto, FESTE, Camerfirma, etc.) directly or as an adviser. He was Senior Vicepresident of Mobipay International and a pioneer in nearly all electronic banking initiatives (virtual banking, virtual TPV, WAP banking, cyberstore [GPL license], SET Fácil, pre-paid virtual cards, etc.).

He is currently the General Manager of Albalia Interactiva, Coordinator of Foro de Evidencias Electrónicas and a Professor at Instituto de Empresa. He has his own blog, “Todo es electrónico,” and he likes Ska.

It’s been great working with him and with Fernando Pino of Albalia. It’s hard to imagine other people with more knowledge about digital signatures and, at the same time, who want to learn new things.

The 1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic Signatures states that, in the last 7 years, an electronic signature with certain requirements is equal to a handwritten signature but that, without those requirements, it also has legal effects.

Until now, all the systems implementation that accepted electronic signatures, especially those using transnational software, such as the Tax Authorities or any telematic registers of the Public Authorities, limited (illegally) the certificates that could be used in the electronic signatures to those issued by a few Certification Service Providers. That is to say, in addition to the few situations where digital signatures can be used, they are badly implemented.

I am proud to announce that Tractis is ending that situation and, to some extent, thanks to Fernando Pino and yours truly. Thanks to David Blanco for his confidence in Albalia Interactiva and the fact that he has enabled us to develop our ideas of what a correct electronic signature implementation should be like in this project.

Although ease of use is one of the Project’s essential factors, what is actually concealed is an infrastructure that implements concepts such as ES-C “Complete Signatures” that are defined in the TS 101 903 standard and automatic recognition of Certification Service Providers with total guarantee.

It’s not a trivial challenge. The European Commission’s Information Society Thematic Portal publishes the information to which article 11 of the Directive refers. According to that article, member States must indicate how to find all the Certification Service Providers that operate in their sphere. Until two months ago, Spanish data were not available, even though the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade posted on its web site a list of CSPs which had notified their data, in accordance with Electronic Signature Law 50/2003.

Therefore, at this moment, Tractis is the solution in any category, accepted by more certification authorities, without being detrimental to the security level required of an information society’s service provider of this type. Moreover, the system is flexible and enables new providers to enter easily. It can even be extended to provide support to PGP-based firms if the parties recognize themselves in this identification mode, although this may not be the best consideration from a legal standpoint.

Including time information and validation in electronic signatures creates long-term digital proof which will be welcomed by users if they have to exercise their rights with Tractis’ trustworthy third-party services a long time after the signature of the contract and even in conventional disputes.

Tractis. Una sola aplicación, todos los certificados.

I can’t hide the fact that I’m proud to present the baby right now when the parents are about to give birth to it officially, at which time I will join the other “people in labor” at Negonation, wishing this innovating family all the best in raising their computer offspring.

By Julian Inza
Saved in: e-Signatures, Guest Bloggers, Tractis | No comments » | 24 July 2006

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