Law on Digital Signatures
Draft Law on Information Society Services

Law on Digital Signatures

The Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology has published the first draft of the new Electronic Signature Act. This will replace the current regulation included in Royal Decree 14/1999, which was approved even before the introduction of the EU Directive 1999/93 of December 13 1999.

The main aims of the draft are as follows:

  • to give electronic signatures the same legal force as regular signatures (under certain conditions set out in the draft) both in private transactions and dealings with public administration;

  • to provide for the creation of personal electronic signatures, not only for individuals but also for companies;

  • to create a new electronic Spanish national identity card; and

  • to regulate the certification services to be provided by private and public entities (incorporated in Spain or with a permanent presence in Spain), and their responsibilities and compulsory insurance.

The draft also includes a provision referring to infringements and penalties for breach of the provisions under the draft, together with the possibility of the administration adopting interim measures under certain extraordinary circumstances.

Draft Law on Information Society Services

On February 8 2002 the Spanish government approved the draft Law on Information Society Services and E-commerce, which will regulate economic activities carried out online. This draft law, which will implement the Information Society Services Directive, has been discussed by the relevant bodies in an attempt to reach a common wording. The main points of the draft law are the following:

  • The new draft reinforces the transparency of communications through the Internet. Internet service providers will have to provide basic information (eg, corporate name, address and prices), so that the end user always knows with whom it is contracting;

  • Internet service providers do not have a specific responsibility for content, but must cooperate to prevent any illegal or criminal activity on the Internet;

  • The protection of end users is reinforced and their consent is necessary before any non-solicited advertising (ie, spam) is sent; and

  • A new sanctioning regime is included, with fines ranging from €60,000 to €6 million.

For further information on this topic please contact Gonzalo de Ulloa or Jose Carlos Erdozain at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo by telephone (+34 91 582 9100) or by fax (+34 91 582 92 82) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).