Legal Online Signatures

  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION
  • The sprint by Trustseed and Microsoft was a use case of the legal proof of e-signatures as applied in the context of the TDL membership agreement. The goal was to demonstrate the link between e-authentication, e-signature and e-validation. Trustseed’s qualified electronic signature creation device was integrated in this context with Microsoft’s Azure end-user authentication and Certiway’s validation platform.

    The sprint promotes a new generation of online signature in SaaS (Software as a Service), combining strong authentication (multi-factor combined supportive document control), with document compliance analysis before sealing and e-signature, the whole process being overseen and accredited by a trusted third party. Legal archiving is a plug-in function that can naturally extend the sprint implementation.

    The aim of this use case is to set up the basis for a trustworthy modular framework that could securely, confidentially and in compliance with the upcoming European regulatory framework, handle and connect heterogeneous digital document management accredited communities.

    Use Case Overview

    The use case chosen for this sprint was to enable new members to join the TDL community by legally signing online the TDL membership agreement. According to the legacy process, the prospective member applies for membership and sends a written application to the TDL office. Upon approval of this application by the Board of Directors, the prospective member accepts the articles of the association and its rules and policies to become a member. The application form contains, contact details and billing information, the Articles of Association, and a place for a signature confirming acceptance of the contents of the document.

    The weakness in this process is that there is no control if the signature is from an unauthorised representative and doesn’t support bilateral signature.

    In addition there is no version management of the signed Articles of Association document connected to the signature. As well as addressing the limitations in the current manual process, by signing online in compliance to the upcoming regulations, TDL will realise the benefits from the use of electronic agreements from their:

    • Probative value
    • Proof of exchange
    • Facility for invoicing
    • Access to Office 365
    • Proof of acceptance
    • Legal archiving capability
    Key Drivers

    With the emergence of new control technologies for digital identities and e-authentication, it is essential to establish trust frameworks and increasing the interoperability of trust services. The new design principles should be easy and cost effective for deployment of architectures servicing complex identity infrastructures. In addition, the new solutions for digital signature should be easy to use, easy to deploy and legally guarantee various insurance levels. This implies the introduction of assurance levels in real time transactions, real time contractualization of each bilateral relationship and provision of legal claims. There is a need for a validation platform, to guarantee end-to-end trust. This includes revocation list management, data domiciliation and data consolidation, accountability between all service providers, recovery, resilience (ISO 27006 and 27035), and interoperability. In addition, there are compliance requirements with the upcoming EU regulations such as eIDAS, GDPR and the NIS Directive.

    Benefits

    The solution adopted privacy by design principles that protect the data of citizens and businesses. It only allows the electronic exchange of documents based on previously agreed accountability and traceability. It also permits businesses to entrust liability to the qualified trust service providers. As a consequence there will be drastic reduction of costs from preventing fraud and protection against cybercrime.

    Approach Used

    During the implementation phase, the technical integration of various components of this solution was carried out. Access to the TDL test environment that comprises Office 365 and the e-authentication (testbed) is provided through a UIA authentication service. At the end of this phase, testing was carried out to uncover any technical issues in implementing the use case.

    Design Principles

    The use case is developed for implementing new trust services based on eIDAS for cross-border digital signature, applicable for handling real time processing of mass transactions. The following design principles are taken into account while developing the use case:

    • From a basic to a high eID security level
    • Strong e-Authentication
    • Bilateral contracts
    • Qualified electronic signature creation
    • Validation of qualified electronic signatures (authentication, signature and delivery)
    • Legal evidence (control of the document to sign)
    • Privacy protection
    • Assurance levels (is the only way to be compliant with the three upcoming EU regulations)
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  • OWNER
  • Trustseed SAS
  • Eric Blot-Lefvre
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