Emergency Decree No. 27/2018 modified Digital Signature Law No. 25,056 and regulation applicable to related fields in order to adjust them to the use of digital media

On January 11, 2018, Emergency Decree No. 27/2018 (the “Decree”) was published in the Official Gazette. Its purpose is to simplify governmental procedures, reducing typical regulations and bureaucracy. The Decree established the need to integrate new technological platforms in procedures to simplify interactions between different government agencies and between government agencies and citizens.

Consequently, Chapter XI of the Decree expanded the scope of Digital Signature Law No. 25,506 (the “Digital Signature Law”), to extend the use of electronic documents and of electronic and digital signatures to all legal and administrative acts. The chapter was updated to reflect both technological developments and the experience gained in the implementation of the digital signature infrastructure in Argentina.

In the first place, the Decree repealed Section 4 of the Digital Signature Law which listed matters excluded from the scope of the Digital Signature law, namely death provisions, family law and personal acts in general, and any acts that implied requirements that are not compatible with digital signatures. Section 18 of the Digital Signature Law, which regulated professional certificates, was also repealed; as well as Sections 28, 35 and 36, which referred to the Advisory Committee for the Digital Signature Infrastructure and its operation.

Furthermore, the Decree amended Section 10 of the Digital Signature Law. This provision established that when a digital document was sent automatically by a programed device and carried the digital signature of the sender, the document would be presumed to be from the sender, unless proven otherwise. As amended, current Section 10 provides that any electronic document signed by an application certificate is presumed to be from the owner of the certificate, unless proven otherwise.

Moreover, the Ministry of Modernization became the new enforcement authority of the Digital Signature Law, replacing the office of the President’s Chief of Staff. Furthermore, the National Auditing Office was entrusted with conducting all the audits required by the Digital Signature Law, a role which used to be in the remit of universities, provincial or national scientific and/or technological entities, or professional bodies and associations with proven professional experience in the matter.            

Lastly, Section 128 of the Decree established that official electronic documents signed digitally, as well as electronic records, official communications, electronic notices and special electronic domiciles set in platforms for conducting procedures remotely and in the electronic document management systems used by public agencies in any judicial or administrative procedures, will have -for the national public sector- the same effectiveness and value as its equivalents in paper or any other format.

Additionally, in its Chapter XXII on financial inclusion, the Decree modified several laws in light of the need to expand the use of electronic media in the management of documents and the formalization of certain acts. To this end, the Decree modified Consumer Protection Law No. 24,240 so that now the information provided to consumers may be delivered in the support chosen by the supplier, unless the consumer chooses a physical support. If the support is not specified, it must be electronic.

Moreover, the Decree modified Credit Card Law No. 25,065. Subsection K of Section 6, establishing that in all credit card agreements generated by electronic means the signature requirement can be satisfied by any means which undoubtedly ensure the externalization of the will of the parties and the integrity of the instrument. In connection with the domicile to which the credit card statements must be sent, the new Section 24 establishes that the supplier must send the statement to an email address, unless the client requests that it be provided on paper.

Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes Decree/Law No. 5,965 and Check Law No. 24,452 were also amended to adjust their contents to the new system. They now allow a digital/electronic signature when it undoubtedly ensures the externalization of the will of the parties and the integrity of the instrument for the issuance, endorsement, acceptance and guarantee of checks and bills of exchange issued electronically, as well as deferred-payment checks issued electronically.