The eIDAS Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions (Regulation No. 910/2014) will come into force this July (the “Regulation”). The Regulation repeals the E-Signatures Directive 1999/93 which was implemented via the Electronic Commerce Act 2000, and will have direct effect across all EU Member States.
The aim of the Regulation is to provide clarity and confidence in cross-border electronic transactions. The Regulation will provide a predictable regulatory environment to enable secure and seamless electronic interactions between businesses, citizens and public authorities.
The Regulation focuses on both electronic identification systems and electronic signatures including electronic trust services, electronic seals, time stamps, documents, cross border electronic delivery and website authentication.
In working towards harmonisation, the most significant changes include:
- the call for mutual recognition of all Member States’ notified electronic identification systems;
- the appointment of a national supervisory body which will oversee and manage breaches of security by qualified trust services; and
- the establishment of an EU trust mark for qualified trust services.
The Regulation will be of particular significance if you or your business engage in electronic transactions during the course of your operations. For those businesses who deal with entities in the UK by way of electronic transactions, it is not yet clear what the impact of ‘Brexit’ will be, and, in particular, whether there will be any divergence in approach between the UK and the rest of Europe post-Brexit in terms of the laws applicable to electronic contracts.