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In the European Union the validity of electronic signatures was first set out in Directive 1999/93/EC which has been implemented in varying ways across the EU Member States.
The Directive sets out the criteria that form the basis for legal recognition of electronic signatures by focusing on certification services. These comprise the following:
The scope of the Directive was defined as "to facilitate the use of electronic signatures and to contribute to their legal recognition". The last few years the European Commission has published a number of opinions on the need to have a more comprehensive legal framework at European level for electronic signatures and certification services.
On 4 June 2012, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation regarding electronic identification, signatures and trust services (the Proposed Regulation).
The key changes which would be introduced by the Proposed Regulation are as follows:
In October 2012 the European Data Protection Supervisor published an Opinion in which he made a number of recommendations:
A revised version of the Proposed Regulation was published on 23rd July 2014. It is expected that the Regulation will be in force during 2015.
This article was written by Robert Bond.
For more information contact Robert on +44 (0)20 7427 6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org