At the Policy Learning Platform workshop on Mastering the digital transformation of business support, Ms Alma Joy Ridderhof from DG CONNECT, European Commission, reported on the increasing uptake on national level of the eIDAS Regulation (electronic Identification (eID), Authentication and Trust Services). Over the past 12 months several EU Member States have published their national eID schemes at EU level (see picture) and more are expected to do so soon. 

The eIDAS Regulation, a pillar of the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020  from the European Commission, has created one single framework for electronic Identification (eID) and trust services, resulting in a more straightforward delivery of business services across the 28 countries in the EU. eIDAS established the framework to ensure that electronic interactions between businesses are safer, faster and more efficient, no matter the European country they take place in, thus contributing to increase the competitiveness of the businesses using them and of the overall European economy.

More specifically, the eIDAS framework encompasses the following features: 

  • Electronic Identification (eID) allows businesses and consumers to prove electronically that they are who they say they are and gain access to services or carry out business transactions online. eID can be used in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.
  • Electronic signature (eSignature) is the expression in an electronic format of a person’s agreement to the content of a document or set of data. Qualified eSignatures have the same legal effect as handwritten signatures.
  • Electronic seal (eSeal) is similar in its function to the traditional business stamp. It can be applied to an electronic document to guarantee the origin and integrity of a document.
  • Electronic Timestamp (eTimestamp) links an electronic document, such as a purchase order, to a particular time, providing evidence that the document existed at that time.
  • Website Authentication Certificates (WACs) are electronic certificates that prove to your customers that your website is trustworthy and reliable. They ensure that the website is linked to the person to whom the certificate is issued. They also help avoid data phishing.
  • Electronic Registered Delivery Service (eDelivery) allows the user to send data electronically. It provides proof of sending and delivery of the document and protects your company against the risk of loss, theft, damage or unauthorised alterations.

Considering that a national eID can be used in all EU Member States 12 months after the date of publication at EU level, we are now experiencing a fast and broad roll-out of the eIDAS Regulation in the Member States, making those services practically available to policy makers working on the digitalization of their services to businesses. The eIDAS for SMEs website provides further practical information and use cases on the eID and trust services for SMEs.

Finally, Ms Ridderhof reminded that the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 will soon reach its end and called for action. This is the time to reach out for the eGovernment and Trust team at DG CONNECT and give your ideas via email or Twitter on what challenges the future EU policy on digital government with respect to public services for businesses should address!

Image credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels