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Digital signatures are one of the most convenient ways to sign the document that is submitted electronically, and a signature is important to ensure the document’s authenticity. But the question is, can one use digital signatures without having a digital signature certificate? The answer is no.
You are not legally permitted to use digital signatures and cannot sign a document digitally without having a digital certificate. You can use the digital signature that is issued to you and not legally permitted to use that is not yours or not issued to you to use it.
You might have been looking for so many answers, such as what is a digital signature, its type, and how to get it? This article explains all of these to provide you with comprehensive and accurate information.
What is a digital signature certificate?
In this era of technology, where all activities are done digitally, documents are also being submitted digitally. It is excellent and convenient for any organization or individual. But, while submitting the documents, it becomes essential to ensure the legality of the document. That’s why for authenticating the document, Digital signatures are used popularly among organizations.
For using digital signatures, you need to get a digital signature certificate. You can use the signature that is provided to you and can’t use other issued signatures legally.
Types of digital certificates
The first one is a signature certificate used for only signing the document. Signing through the digital signature certificate gives an assurance of the user’s information.
is the second type of the DSC and is used to encrypt a document. To encrypt and upload the document, this one is popularly used at the tender portal. There are numerous documents like e-commerce or legal documents that are highly valuable and need to be protected.
In this process of sending the document protectively, digital signature certificates can play a vital role for both individuals and private business personnel.
Document signer certificate
The third one is, Document signer certificate. These certificates are issued to the organizational software applications to automatically operate and authenticate the documents by using digital signatures applied to the information.
Classes of digital signature certificates
The digital signature certificates have been divided into classes. Generally, there are several kinds of digital signatures. The classes of digital signature certificates are protected by specific security features and ensure a unique trust that you can rely on. Here are some of those kinds of certificates and defined in classes like class 1, class 2, and class 3.
Class 1 certificates:
Class 1 certificates are provided to business personnel and private individuals. Both of these two can use class 1 certificates to make their working experience better. Class 1 certificates are for conforming to the given information submitted by the subscriber. These certificates conform to the legitimacy of the user’s name and all other pieces of information.
Class 1 certificate offers you a special kind of assurance about the consequences that your data can be compromised, but these compromises won’t be of enormous importance. And won’t harm you.
Class 2 certificates:
Class 2 certificates are also for business personnel and private individuals. They will be able to use this class of digital signature certificates. Class 2 certificates are used to conform to the pieces of information that are given or submitted by the user and don’t contradict the information in a well-recognized consumer database.
Class 2 level digital signature certificates are essential where the data will be compromised partially but not wholly. Class 2 certificate has the possibility of a huge transaction level and an immense risk of the data.
Class 3 certificates:
Class 3 certificates are also issued to both business individuals and organizations. These certificates are high assurance certificates and are popularly used for e-commerce applications. Individuals will use these only after their appearance in front of the certifying authorities.
Class 3 certificate is also essential for the conditions where the risks of the data are at a high level, and the possibility of failure of the security services are at a high level. Class 3 certificate has a possibility of the massive value of transactions, including a huge level of fraud.
Class 3 certificate digital signature certificates are primarily used with one and two years of validity. The law has control over these certificates. That’s why you are not capable of buying these certificates with less than one-year validity and more than three years validity. Class 3 certificates are renewable.
Laws of Electronic Signature around the world
When it comes to electronic signature laws, the question that arises in mind is, are electronic signatures legal and operational according to the laws? Yes, the low commission renewed the guidelines on how to operate the electronic signatures.
In the UK
Electronic communication law 2000 was a significant law made by the parliament of the UK, which was later replaced with eIDAS (electronic Identification, Authentication, and trust services).
In the UAE
Whereas in the Middle Eastern countries like UAE, electronic signatures are recognized under Federal Law No.1 of 2006 Concerning Electronic Transactions & Commerce (eCommerce Law). A handwritten signature isn’t always needed to sign a contract to be considered credible, and that contract cannot be refused for being electronically signed.
In order to accept electronic signatures in UA, there are the following factors that need to be considered:
1. The nature of the underlying transaction;
2. The value or importance of the underlying transaction, if it is known;
3. Whether the relying party has taken appropriate steps to determine the reliability of the Electronic Signature or the Certificate;
4. Whether the relying party in respect of the Electronic Signature or certificate took reasonable steps to verify if an Electronic Attestation Certificate supported the Electronic Signature, or if it should be expected to be so supported;
5. Any agreement or course of dealing between the originator and the relying party, or any trade usage which may be applicable;
6. Or any other relevant factor.
While in France, the e-signatures software comes under the French Civil Code, which is the main legal instrument regulating electronic signature and eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication, and trust services).
In France, electronic signatures are 100% legal, and to be deemed reliable, they should:
Clearly identify the person from whom it originates,
And should be established and stored in conditions that ensure its integrity.
Talking about Italy, eIDAS has also been used for e-signature software along with Codice Dell’amministrazione Digitale or the Digital Administration Code (CAD). Moreover, e-signatures in Italy are viewed as equivalent to a QES, which, when used with an Italian citizen’s SPID and Advanced Electronic Signature, are referred to as “strong” electronic signature. That is because of the enhanced level of trust and security they offer. This means electronic signatures are considered to have the same legal effect as handwritten signatures.
In Germany, they use Vertrauensdienstegesetz (VDG), the German Trust Services Act and Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB), or the German Civil Code. If you replace the written form with the electronic form, then it must adhere to the following:
The issuer of the declaration must add his or her name to the electronic form and provide the electronic document with a qualified electronic signature (QES).
While in the case of a contract, the parties should provide a counterpart signed with QES.
In the US
However, in the US, the ESIGN or the US Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act in 2000 states that electronic signatures are legal in every state and US territory where federal law applies.
When it comes to signing any document electronically, the digital signature certificates need the hour, which plays a vital role for organizations and business individuals. Digital signature certificates are the essential elements for signing a document legally.
Although digital signatures are the time-saving method for submitting any document simultaneously, digital signature certificates are to ensure the legitimacy of the documents that the user submits.
For using digital signature certificates, numerous laws should be followed by the users who use the electronic signatures. Using electronic signatures according to the implemented laws is essential that every user should follow.
All the information given above will certainly help you to get the digital signature certificates quickly and conveniently. So, have you got yourself registered for a digital signature? Register for an account now. It’s free!