What is eIDAS Certified Timestamping?
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As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for secure and reliable methods to verify the authenticity of electronic documents has become more critical than ever. Timestamping is one such method that allows individuals and organisations to prove that a particular electronic document existed at a specific time, and that it has not been altered since that time. An eIDAS certification provides the guarantee that the timestamped document is authentic and has not been altered.
What does eIDAS certification involve for a timestamping authority ?
eIDAS (Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services) is a regulation introduced by the European Union (EU) on the 23/07/2014, that defines a legal framework for secure and reliable electronic transactions within the EU. This regulation creates a harmonized set of rules for electronic identification, authentication, and trust services, making it easier for citizens, businesses, and public bodies to conduct online transactions across borders.
The eIDAS certification process involves a thorough assessment of the timestamping authority's systems and procedures to ensure that they comply with the eIDAS Regulation. The assessment covers areas such as security measures, data protection, and auditability, among others. If the authority meets the requirements, it is issued with a certificate that attests to the conformity of its systems and procedures with the eIDAS Regulation.
Why are authenticity and integrity so important ?
Integrity and authenticity are two critical legal concepts that are essential for the functioning of trust services.
Integrity refers to the property of data or information that ensures it has not been altered in any way. Authenticity, on the other hand, refers to the property of data or information that ensures it comes from a genuine source and has not been tampered with in any way.
In the context of eIDAS, integrity and authenticity play a crucial role in ensuring the security and trustworthiness of electronic transactions. For example, the eIDAS regulation mandates that electronic signatures must be created using a secure electronic signature creation device and must be based on a qualified certificate. These requirements help ensure the integrity and authenticity of the electronic signature, making it legally binding and admissible in court.
Why is it important to choose an eIDAS-certified provider for Timestamping?
eIDAS certification provides assurance that the electronic signatures, seals, and timestamps, provided by the timestamping authority, are authentic and cannot be tampered with. This assurance is crucial in electronic transactions where trust is a fundamental requirement.
Additionally, eIDAS certification is mandatory for timestamping authorities that provide qualified timestamps. Qualified timestamps are timestamps that provide the highest level of assurance and are admissible as evidence in court. To provide qualified timestamps, timestamping authorities must comply with the highest standards of security and auditability. eIDAS certification ensures that they meet these standards.
Benefits of eIDAS Certified Timestamping
eIDAS certified timestamping offers several benefits to legal and tech professionals. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Legal Validity: eIDAS certified timestamps are legally valid and admissible in court as evidence of the existence and integrity of electronic documents.
- Security: Timestamping provides a secure method to ensure that electronic documents are not tampered with or altered after they have been signed.
- Traceability: eIDAS certified timestamping provides a traceable record of when a document was signed and by whom, providing a clear audit trail.
- Compliance: eIDAS certified timestamping is compliant with EU regulations, ensuring that your business meets all legal requirements for electronic signatures and timestamps.
- Cost-Effective: eIDAS certified timestamping is a cost-effective way to ensure the authenticity and integrity of electronic documents, reducing the need for expensive physical storage and paper-based document management.
In summary, eIDAS certified timestamping is a digital process that ensures the integrity of electronic documents by providing legal validity, security, and traceability. It involves the use of a trusted third party that uses advanced cryptographic techniques to generate a unique digital signature for an electronic document, which is then encrypted and securely stored in a tamper-evident container called a "time-stamptoken." By using eIDAS certified timestamping, legal and tech professionals can ensure the authenticity and integrity of electronic documents and comply with EU regulations.
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