Transformative digital technologies and an increase in remote work models are pushing the advocation of digital and electronic signatures in the UK and EU by government entities and the private sector. The global move to digital identification processes is motivated by the benefits of expediency, accuracy, safety, and cost-savings actualized by digital transactions secured with digital signatures.
While there has been some reluctance to adopt the use of electronic signatures in the UK and parts of the EU, particularly by financial institutions, there has been a rise in the use of digital signatures with the global eSignature market projected to reach almost 26.6% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next nine years, to 2030, according to Prescient & Strategic Intelligence. The updated eIDAS 2.0 Regulation hopes to facilitate more widespread acceptance of electronic services across all UK and EU members.
What is eIDAS 2.0?
eIDAS 2.0 is the evolution of the UK and EU countries framework; Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS). Created in 2016, eIDAS is a regulation to ensure safer, faster, and more efficient electronic transactions between businesses. The first phase of eIDAS witnessed varied implementation across different member states, resulting in difficulties and inconsistencies in using electronic identification and trust services. The development of the updated eIDAS 2.0 responds to these issues by creating more detailed requirements and guidelines for implementing the regulation.
The eIDAS 2.0 update expands the scope of the original rule to introduce the inclusion of Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSP). These providers meet the highest standards of security and reliability set by the UK and EU and are subject to more stringent requirements. QTSPs must undergo regular audits to ensure that they continue to meet the required standards. Both the UK and EU each maintain their own QTSP List, of which GlobalSign is a provider listed on both.
The updated regulation also includes more types of electronic trust services. While the original regulation only applied to e-signatures, electronic seals, and electronic timestamps; eIDAS 2.0 includes e-registered delivery services, e-certificates for authentication, and electronic seals for electronic documents.
Of the three types of electronic signatures included within eIDAS (Simple, Advanced and Qualified), Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) are the only type of electronic signature that carries the same legal standing as a handwritten ‘wet ink’ signature. QES requires qualified certificates issued by a QTSP to meet eIDAS requirements. There are hundreds of use cases for qualified electronic signatures, from real estate contracts to financial services and credit agreements to employment contracts.
eIDAS 2.0 hopes to create a more secure and seamless digital environment within the EU by creating expanded services and common requirements and standards for electronic identification and trust services.
European Digital Identity Wallets
In the coming months, all EU Member States must ensure that a Digital Identity Wallet (DIW) is available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses who want one. The proposal targets achieving at least 80% of EU citizens to have a digital identification system by 2030, to facilitate transactions with administrations and businesses across the EU with complete security.
DIWs allow individuals to store virtual identity cards securely. eIDAS 2.0 moves from the original’s primary B2B focus to include greater attention on individual consumers and citizens. It aims to provide greater control over personal information and the data that can be shared with a service requesting the users’ identity attributes.
QES Innovative Applications and Use Cases
Since the establishment of eIDAS and the anticipated advancements with 2.0, digital services and electronic signatures will continue to accelerate and expand across the UK and EU.
Here are some of the highly significant use case opportunities for digital signatures and services:
- Land and property conveyance - Digital signatures streamline the application, registration, and conveyance process with security features that are digitally validated for accurate and secure transactions. HM Land Registry (HMLR) is evaluating turning to QES for greater authentication and a more secure signing solution for digitizing the conveyance process.
- E-invoicing and e-reporting - Reduces the costs associated with processing an invoice. The many benefits include eliminating manual entry errors, improved fraud detection, fewer invoice disputes, and global tax compliance.
- Payment Services Directive Two (PSD2) - Designed by the EU, PSD2 reduces fraud and improves consumer choice, driving change and innovation in the payments industry. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is mandated under PSD2 and will be required for all European e-commerce transactions.
- European Product Registry for Energy Labeling (EPREL) - EPREL is a database where manufacturers, importers, or authorized representatives register their appliances requiring an EU energy label in the product database. It verifies suppliers located in the EU, EEA, and Northern Ireland signer authority, and verifies the use of qualified electronic signatures and seals. EPREL relies upon qualified third-parties, like GlobalSign, as a Certificate Authority (CA) to verify the information.
Choosing a QTSP
It is important to choose a QTSP that can provide comprehensive B2B services, as well as the consumer-based digital identity services required in the future. GlobalSign is a QTSP under the eIDAS regulation for both the EU and the UK. Our Qualified Signing Service fulfills the eIDAS’ high requirements for land and property conveyance, e-invoicing, e-reporting, archiving, PSD2, EPREL certificate requirements, and more.
To learn more about the transformative impact of eIDAS 2.0 on the digital identity and PKI industry in the UK and EU, please read our eIDAS eBook.