Parliament recently adopted two new acts relating to e-commerce: the Act on Electronic Signatures, which implements the Electronic Signatures Directive (1999/93/EC), and the Act on Electronic Service in Administration. The acts entered into force on February 1 2003.

The Electronic Signatures Act aims to promote electronic communications and e-commerce. It applies to electronic signatures and service providers which provide the public with products or services relating to electronic signatures. Advanced electronic signatures, which are based on a qualified certificate and created by a secure signature creation device, now have the same legal validity as handwritten signatures. Among other things, the act also outlines the minimum requirements for:

  • qualified certificates;

  • the responsibilities of accredited certification service providers; and

  • the handling of personal data in relation to certificates and electronic signatures.

The Act on Electronic Service in Administration aims to clarify the requirements with regard to electronic communication conducted with authorities. The act applies to electronic services in administrative authorities, courts and other judicial bodies, as well as to organizations responsible for public administrative tasks. It includes provisions concerning the electronic institution of proceedings, electronic handling of matters and electronic notification of decisions. Electronic means covered by the act include, among other things, telefax, electronic forms, email and access to electronic databases.

For further information on this topic please contact Rainer Hilli or Jenni Kyntölä at Roschier Holmberg, Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 20 506 6000) or by fax (+358 20 506 6100) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).