Legal Basis (eIDAS Regulation)
The handwritten electronic signature on a signature pad or mobile device with pen input is becoming more and more important. It alone represents a simple continuation of the traditional working process, the writing of a signature, in electronic form.
The signotec technology for recording the individual signature characteristics has been examined by an independent writing expert. With regard to "the detailed graphic and forensic analysis in the context of a judicially usable, font comparative, copyright investigation", the usability was confirmed in an expert opinion and even found to be better than original signatures on paper!
The general security of the solution has already been successfully tested and certified by independent testing institutes such as TÜV and many renowned signotec customers.
The handwritten electronic signature is also particularly easy to introduce, as it is based on a well-known process. The process of signing is familiar to many people. In this respect, it occupies a particularly strong position of trust.
The classic signature has significant advantages over card and PIN systems:
- Signing is a familiar process
- You can't lose them
- The signature cannot be forgotten.
- A passing on is impossible
- The signature is never given unintentionally.
- It is accepted for notarization of declarations of intent
With the biometric, handwritten signature not only visas are attached to the documents to be signed, but the signature and the biometrics are connected with the documents in such a way that a forgery is recognized. Most importantly, the signer can be authenticated using the biometric parameters he or she provides when signing. The documents can be checked for integrity at any time using standard means (such as Adobe Reader).
eIDAS and e-signatures
Since 1 July 2016, the EU-wide eIDAS Regulation has regulated the legal and technological basis for electronic signatures in Europe. eIDAS stands for "electronic IDentication, Authentication and trust Services". The new ordinance and the new Trust Services Act (VDG) replace the previously valid EU Directive 1999/93/EC, which was anchored in the Signature Act (SigG) and the Signature Ordinance (SigV). The purpose of the legal innovation was, on the one hand, the Europe-wide standardisation and recognition of electronic signatures and the promotion and development of their digital applications.
Forms of the electronic signature
The eIDAS regulation, like the EU directive before it, contains a subdivision into three different quality levels of the electronic signature, which can be used for different application cases:
- Simple electronic signature
The simple electronic signature is, as the name already suggests, a simple means which offers little or no evidentiary value in court. This can be a scanned signature, for example, which is placed as an image under documents. This form is usually only suitable for internal processes, such as expense reports, release processes or similar, taking into account the legal risks.
- Advanced electronic signature
The advanced form of the electronic signature offers a significantly higher evidential value than the simple one. In the event of a dispute, it enables an exact validation of the signature, consisting of document integrity and the authentication of the signer. This makes it possible to determine whether the document has changed, and which person has signed it. This form of e-signature is particularly suitable for all non-formal processes such as correspondence, contracts and agreements with customers and partners. This means that it is actually always necessary to document a declaration of intent for a certain process in a way that is legally compliant and secure.
- Qualified electronic signature
The qualified electronic signature describes the highest quality level of the e-signature and is the only one that can replace the written form if required by law (< 5% of all business transactions in Germany). The major disadvantage of QES is still its small scope of application and low popularity. A classic smartcard system requires that each subscriber has his own card and a corresponding certificate in order to be able to sign. This is extremely impractical in everyday life, since hardly anyone has such a device, or the technologies required for it. New, cloud-based technologies such as "remote signatures" or "corporate seals" promise to make it easier to use qualified signatures - but here, too, each person must be individually identified and verified, e.g. via video or post ID. In such a fast-moving age, this also represents a major obstacle in many places. From the consumer's point of view, it also has the serious disadvantage of reversing the burden of proof: in the event of misuse, the consumer must prove this!
Advanced electronic signatures with signotec
With our products for electronic signature capture via pen pads or mobile devices that sign a PDF, "advanced electronic signatures" are generated ISO-compliant (PDF standard).
In principle, the following requirements are met:
- It is assigned exclusively to the signatory.
- It allows the signer to be identified
- It shall be drawn up by means which the signatory may keep under his sole control
- It shall be linked to the data to which it relates in such a way as to detect any subsequent change in the data
The task is the assignment of a handwritten, electronic signature to a document and of course to a person. The necessary technology consists of the following elements:
- An electronic signature pad from signotec for capturing the signature with high-quality biometric parameters (min. 1,024 pressure levels and 500 Hz sampling rate).
- Software with which the visual and biometric features are incorporated into the document and which reliably protects the document against manipulation, such as signoSign/2 or signoSign/Universal or the associated SDKs.
- An interface that transfers the signed document to an existing document management system without media discontinuity.
- Software that checks whether the signature was executed by the correct person and whether document integrity is guaranteed.
- By transferring the signed, electronic documents into the workflow of a document management system, costs are reduced, processing and processing times are accelerated, and misuse is avoided.
Admissibility in court proceedings
The eIDAS regulation emphasises the judicial usability of electronic signatures.
Art. 25 "Legal effect of electronic signatures" states, among other things:
"An electronic signature may not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in court proceedings solely because it is available in electronic form or because it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures".
This means that advanced electronic signatures must not be ignored as evidence. In this way, you can bring the above security features into court proceedings in any case.
Qualified electronic signatures with signotec
In addition to the advanced e-signature via pen pad or mobile device, we also offer options for creating qualified signatures.
The "signoSign/2" software provides an interface for qualified electronic signing of documents using a card reader and smart card. In this case, no signature is recorded, but the document is signed solely with the certificate of a personal signature card, or both. Thus a signature can be recorded by QeS and/or FeS with Pad.
- Remote Signature
The web-based integration product "signoSign/Universal" has a prepared interface that makes it possible to generate remote signatures, e.g. via mobile phone signature, and to sign PDF documents in a qualified manner. Instead of a signature, the registered subscriber is authenticated via his mobile phone and signs the document in this way. The respective service providers of the remote signature must be implemented individually for each customer. We will be happy to assist you at any time.
Areas of application
Electronic signatures can be used wherever documents need to be signed today and then processed electronically: Financial institutions, insurance companies, logistics, healthcare, services, industry and many more. Practical experience shows that costs can be reduced by up to eighty percent by using the signotec solution. With the help of handwritten electronic signatures, the process chain of the digital document can be realized from creation to archiving without media discontinuity. A ROI (return on investment) of less than 6 months is confirmed by our customers.
Disclaimer of liability: Please note that the above explanations are a subjective interpretation based on experience and provided by signotec GmbH. This presentation does not replace any legal advice and there are no liability claims from this. Legal advice is subject to the profession of lawyers. You should therefore consult a lawyer of your choice for a precise examination of your requirements.