What is Electronic Signature?

What is Electronic Signature?

The Electronic Signature is a fundamental tool for the dematerialisation of business processes that allows to streamline the management of relations with the public administration, companies and private citizens.

Electronic Signature allows documents to be signed directly from a PC or smartphone with the same legal value as a traditional handwritten signature. It is a fast and effective solution that promotes the process of document dematerialisation.

How many types of electronic signature exist?

How many types of electronic signature exist?

The European Union defines three types of electronic signature: simple electronic signatures (SES), advanced electronic signatures (AES) and qualified electronic signatures (QES):

Electronic signature (simple): Lacking the guarantees of authorship and integrity of the document, it represents the weakest form of signature in the IT field. It takes on the value of a mere signature instrument. This includes, for example, logging in using a username and password. The low legal value clearly emerges if we wish to identify with absolute certainty the person who has logged in with certain credentials.

Advanced electronic signature: As the name suggests, compared to the simple electronic signature, this type of signature provides a higher degree of protection and security. It presupposes the prior identification of the signatory by means of an acknowledgement that can take place de visu or remotely by means of audio and/or video recording tools made in compliance with the regulations in force. The most widespread type of advanced electronic signature is the graphometric signature via tablet.

From a legal point of view, it has the same evidentiary value as a private contract, for which the presumption of traceability of the signature to the holder applies. In court, it is then up to the other party to prove the invalidity of the deed. The CAD limits the application of advanced electronic signatures to documents within an administrative procedure.

Qualified electronic signature: this is one of the most advanced forms of electronic signature and is characterised by two elements

– a secure physical device for creating the signature

– a certification attesting to the identity of the signatory and the originality and integrity of the signed documents.

Compared to its predecessors, this signature is based on a signature certificate issued by an authority guaranteeing the authenticity of the signatory and the absence of changes to the document after signing.

Digital signature: This is by far the most advanced form of electronic signature. It uses a digital signature kit consisting of:

– a physical device (except for remote signature)

– a signature certificate with a validity of 3 years issued by a certification body that identifies and certifies with certainty the identity of the holder of the signature

– a PIN known only to the signatory.

With the PIN, a further step is added to strengthen the entire signing process, a step that can only and exclusively be carried out by the holder. As mentioned above, the legal value of the digital signature is maximised, which translates into a reversal of the burden of proof, in other words, in the event of a court case, it will be up to the signatory to prove or deny the validity of the signature.

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