Frequently Asked Questions
What is an electronic signature?
An electronic signature is a data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign, where the signatory is a natural person.
Like its handwritten counterpart in the offline world, an electronic signature can be used, for instance, to electronically indicate that the signatory has written the document, agreed with the content of the document, or that the signatory was present as a witness.
In case you want to seal a document as a legal person (e.g. as a business or organisation), you might be instead interested in an electronic seal.
What is an electronic seal?
An electronic seal is a data in electronic form, which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form to ensure the latter’s origin and integrity, where the creator of a seal is a legal person (unlike the electronic signature that is issued by a natural person).
In this purpose, electronic seals might serve as evidence that an electronic document was issued by a legal person, ensuring certainty of the document’s origin and integrity. Nevertheless, across the European Union, when a transaction requires a qualified electronic seal from a legal person, a qualified electronic signature from the authorised representative of the legal person is equally acceptable.
Why does Nowina not appear in any Trusted List?
Nowina is a company that provides many services in the field of the electronic signature. These range from consulting and trainings to eSignature solutions such as EVA, an electronic signature platform. These solutions allow the creation of qualified electronic signatures by using qualified certificates. The latter are not provided by Nowina but are issued by a qualified trust service provider. Given that Trusted Lists contain qualified trust service providers but not the service providers that make use of trust services, Nowina is not included in any Trusted List.
Nevertheless, as the solutions developed by Nowina are compliant with eIDAS and ETSI standards, they can be used by companies to become qualified trust service providers for the validation and preservation of electronic signatures and to be included into a Trusted List.
What are the legal effects of an electronic signature?
Across all EU Member States, the legal effects of electronic signatures are laid down in Article 25 of eIDAS.
An electronic signature (either simple, advanced or qualified) shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.
Regarding qualified electronic signatures, they explicitly have the equivalent legal effect of handwritten signatures across all EU Member States.
What are the levels (simple, advanced and qualified) of electronic signatures?
The eIDAS Regulation defines three levels of electronic signature: ‘simple’ electronic signature, advanced electronic signature and qualified electronic signature. The requirements of each level are built on the requirements of the level below it, such that a qualified electronic signature meets the most requirements and a ‘simple’ electronic signature the least.
‘Simple’ electronic signatures
An electronic signature is defined as “data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign”. Thus, something as simple as writing your name under an e-mail might constitute an electronic signature.
Advanced electronic signatures (AdES)
An advanced electronic signature is an electronic signature which is additionally:
- uniquely linked to and capable of identifying the signatory;
- created in a way that allows the signatory to retain control;
- linked to the document in a way that any subsequent change of the data is detectable.
The most commonly used technology able to provide these requirements relies on the use of a public-key infrastructure (PKI), which involves the use of certificates and cryptographic keys.
Qualified electronic signatures (QES)
A qualified electronic signature is an advanced electronic signature which is additionally:
- created by a qualified signature creation device (QSCD);
- and is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures.