ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE (e-signature)1
An electronic signature, or e-signature, refers to data in electronic form, which is logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. The common functions and requirement are:
- The signatory can be uniquely identified and linked to the signature
- The signature must can identify if its accompanying data has been tampered with after the message was signed
- If the accompanying data has been changed, the signature must be invalidated
The legal basis of e-signature is embodied in the Law 59/2003 about Electronic Signature and it is further explained in Section called Base Legal de las Firmas. This Section explore under what circumstance the law equate e-signature and handwritten signature.
The electronic certificate, basis of the electronic signature
To e-sign a document is necessary to have got an electronic certificate or an Electronic European ID Card.
The Electronic certificate or the Electronic European ID Card contain some cryptographic keys, the requirements to allow user to sign digital documents. Electronic certificate aims at identifying unequivocally its holder and are issued by Certification Service Providers.
The electronic signature processes
- The user makes a digital document available (spreadsheet, pdf, a digital picture, online form) and an electronic certificate belong and identify himself.
- The used software or digital device to e-sign summarise the document: a big size document summary sometimes takes a few lines. This summary is unique and any modification on the document means an alteration on the summary.
- The software or digital device use the enclosed key in the certificate to encode the summary.
- The software or digital device create another e-document containing the encoded summary. This new e-document becomes the electronic signature.
The result of this process is an e-document obtained from the original and from the signatory keys. Thus, the e-signature is the same resulting e-document.
The e-signature is the same resultant e-document. This is the valid and legal document to be saved. Any print or graphical representation made of him is only applicable in the determined terms by the signature recipient. In this case, the printed signature should contain a Safe Verification Code (in Spanish called CSV Código Seguro de Verificación) which allow to contrast the printed copy and the original e-document.
How can I e-sign an e-document?
Some of the question it may appear meantime:
- Witch tool may I use to sign?
- Should I install anything on my computer?
- When I sign a form on Internet, should I install anything, or my browser do everything automatically?
- How I use the Electronic ID Card on my computer? How I can install the card reader device?
Indeed, since we are talking about electronic signature, the signature must take place compulsory by electronic facilities, achieving this in two different ways:
- Downloading an application on your computer: In this case, you are using the installed application to e-sign and you don’t need internet connection. The application you can download are: the client @Firma from the Ministry of Planning Policy (Ministerio de Política Territorial) or ecoFirma from the Ministry of Industry.
- E-Signing through Internet: this is the way to sign forms or applications when you are in contact with Public Administration for example. You can e-sign your own documents through Internet using the service available by VALIDe: just download the browser plug-in available and the e-sign is ready.
In both cases you need an electronic certificate installed in your device.
The usefulness of the e-signature
The e-signature brings some features on Internet communication: identify the signatory, ensure the data integrity and the Non-repudiation2. Besides such capabilities, they have got many practical applications, generally directed towards the daily online procedures where is required a signature to be validated. Then some examples that you can carry out with the e-signature:
- Carry out and submit Tax declaration
- Submit applications on electronic registry administration
- Working life request
- Receipt of electronic notifications
- To sign emails
- To sign electronic bills
How can verify an e-signed document?
If we receive a signed e-document we could be interested to validate the e-signature, that is, to prove the authenticity of the signed data and the signer, the validity of the certificate and which the file structure is correct.
¿How can we now the validity on e-signature?
We can check the signature validity from any document, to see the signer and the signed document on VALIDe.
Where can I obtain my electronic certificate?
In Frigiliana (and Andalucía) you can contact the Guadalinfo seat from 10 to 13.30 and from 16.30 to 20.00 from Monday to Thursday. Friday only morning. Holidays and weekends closed.
The information contained in this guide has a merely informative nature, and generates no rights, expectations or responsibilities whatsoever for the Frigiliana Town Hall.