Electronic identification and electronic trust services are key enablers for secure cross-border electronic transactions. The EU needed to lay down a foundation and legal framework for people, companies and public administrations to safely access services and doing transactions online and across border.
Therefore the EU Regulation N°910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS) has been adopted on July 23rd 2014. The eIDAS ensures that people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes to access public services in other EU countries. It also hopes to create an European internal market for electronic trust services - namely electronic signatures, electronic seals, time stamps, electronic delivery services and website authentication - by ensuring that they will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper based processes. The EU is under the impression that only by providing certainty on the legal validity of all these services, businesses and citizens will use the digital interactions as their natural way of interaction.
On July 1st 2016, the provisions applicable to trust services under the eIDAS will apply directly in the EU Member States. This will, amongst other, result in the fact that an eSignature can only be used by a natural person. Existing qualified eSignatures certificates issued to legal persons cannot be used anymore to create a legally valid eSignature as of July 1st 2016. This represents a difference from the eSignature Directive where the eSignature could also be used by legal persons.
In ensure direct applicability of eIDAS in the Netherlands (eIDAS does not need to be implemented like EU Directives), amendment of various articles of the Dutch Telecommunications Act, Civil Code, General Administrative Law Act and Personal Data Protection Act will still be necessary. Therefore a legislative proposal has been submitted to the Dutch House of Representatives on February 23rd 2016. The legislative proposal is solely focused on the transposition of eIDAS into national law. The exact consequences of the legislative proposal are mentioned in the Explanatory Memorandum (in Dutch), which can be found here.