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eIDAS: Electronic Identification, Authentification & Trust Services

The eIDAS regulation is an EU regulation on the use of electronic signatures. eIDAS is the abbreviation for Electronic Identification, Authentification and Trust Services.

What is eIDAS?

The eIDAS regulation, standing for Electronic Identification, Authentication, and Trust Services, is a cornerstone EU legislation that governs electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions across the European Union. Officially known as Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, it was enacted by the European Parliament and the Council to enhance trust and security in electronic transactions between businesses, citizens, and public authorities.

Objectives and Scope of eIDAS

eIDAS aims to facilitate the digital single market of the EU by ensuring that people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (eIDs) to access public services in other EU countries where eIDs are available. It establishes a legal framework for electronic signatures, seals, time stamps, registered delivery services, and certificates for website authentication. By standardizing these services, eIDAS enhances trust in electronic transactions and makes cross-border services more accessible, efficient, and secure.

Key Components of eIDAS

Trust Services

Under eIDAS, trust services include a range of electronic services that ensure the security and integrity of transactions conducted over the internet. These services are critical for the functioning of the digital market, offering assurance on the identity of the parties involved and the authenticity of the data exchanged.

Electronic Signatures

An electronic signature is data in electronic form, which is used by the signatory to sign documents or transactions. eIDAS provides a legal framework that recognizes electronic signatures, giving them the same legal standing as handwritten signatures. This component is crucial for executing contracts and agreements digitally.

Electronic Seals

Electronic seals are used by legal entities to ensure the origin and integrity of documents. Like electronic signatures, they offer proof that a document has not been tampered with since the seal was applied.

Electronic Time Stamps

Electronic time stamps provide proof that certain data existed at a specific point in time. This service is important for legal and financial transactions, where the timing of a document or transaction can be critical.

Services for Electronic Registered Mail

eIDAS covers services for electronic registered mail, ensuring the secure and verified transmission of electronic documents. This service provides evidence of the sending and receipt of documents, including information on the date and time of delivery and receipt.

Certificates for Website Authentication

These certificates are issued by trust service providers to authenticate the identity of websites. This helps to prevent fraud and increase consumer trust in online services by ensuring that users are communicating with the legitimate website of a service provider.

Impact and Benefits of eIDAS

The eIDAS regulation has significantly impacted how electronic transactions are conducted within the EU. By providing a standardized legal framework, it has:

  • Enhanced the efficiency of cross-border online services, making it easier for individuals and businesses to operate across the EU.
  • Increased the level of trust in electronic transactions, thereby promoting the adoption of digital services.
  • Supported the digital single market by removing barriers to online transactions and services.

The eIDAS regulation is a key enabler of the digital economy within the European Union, providing the necessary legal certainty and trust for electronic transactions. By standardizing electronic identification and trust services, eIDAS not only facilitates secure and efficient digital transactions but also promotes the growth of the digital single market, benefiting businesses, citizens, and public authorities across the EU.

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