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The electronic signature is the transposition in the digital world of the handwritten signature, but beware, it is not the “scan” of it.
The electronic signature, also called the digital signature, consists in guaranteeing the integrity of a document and the identity of the signatories. It thus ensures that the document has not been altered between its signature and its consultation, in the same way as a paper signature.
Since the law n°2000-230 of March 13, 2000, the electronic signature has the same value as a handwritten signature. Also, electronic transactions within the EU are facilitated by the implementation of the European regulation n°910/2014 called eIDAS. This regulation sets the rules and criteria to be respected for an electronic signature to be legally recognized.
The eIDAS (Electronic IDentification And Trust Services) regulation is the regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions within the 28 member states of the European Community.
The eIDAS regulation defines three levels of electronic signatures:
The simple signature:
This is the most widely used procedure, allowing for rapid and smooth use. It provides a guarantee of identification of the signatory.
It is applicable to documents with limited risk factors.
The advanced signature:
It is more secure, so the advanced electronic signature must:
be linked to its signatory in a unique and clear way
allow the signatory to be formally identified
be created under the sole control of the signatory with his or her telephone or personal computer
guarantee that the deed to which it is attached has not been modified since it was signed
She is advised in the context of financial transactions or legal documents that may present significant legal issues.
The qualified signature :
It represents the most advanced stage of security in terms of electronic signature. It can be particularly restrictive and is only used in very specific cases.
It requires the use of a signature key stored on a physical medium, issued by a certification authority recognized by the ANSSI (French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems), after verification of identity carried out most of the time during a physical meeting. Once the signature key is given to the signatory, it can be used to sign documents for a limited period of time (often 3 years).
It is recommended for authentic deeds of notaries or lawyers.
Financial and environmental issues for companies
The electronic signature offers many advantages for companies:
Fluidized commercial relations: