The eIDAS Regulation (electronic IDentification, Authentication, Signature) has introduced a lot of new electronic tools in recent years; among these, the electronic seal is defined as "data in electronic form, enclosed or connected through logical association to other data in electronic form to guarantee the origin and integrity of the latter".
The electronic seal has been introduced in eIDAS presenting very strong points in common with the electronic signature, with which it shares the definition up to the final operational purpose. The signature is needed to sign, the seal to ensure origin and integrity of the data taken into account.
So many similarities, a substantial difference
The so called eSeals therefore represent a tool similar to the electronic signature, with the difference that - contrary to the electronic signature that allows digitally affixing the signature of natural persons - the seal represents a person's signature legal (of a company, for example).
The technical characteristics of digital signatures and digital seals are almost the same, and the same applies to the standards for evaluating the security of devices to create a digital signature and a digital seal. Where is the substantial difference? Simple: the function is the same; however, one tool is meant for individuals, the other for legal entities.
Various types of seals
As for the electronic signature, it should also be noted that the eIDAS regulation - in addition to the simple electronic seal - also includes the advanced electronic seal and the qualified electronic seal, noting that, in the case of the latter's use, Article 35 second paragraph of the eIDAS regulation, there is a "presumption of data integrity and correctness of the origin of those data to which the qualified electronic seal is associated".
Focusing on this last element, the qualifying electronic seal represents a strong guarantee instrument for the integrity of a digital-computer document. E.g.? Digital photos, software, electronic invoices, chambers, PEC receipts, and much more. Thanks to the use of the qualified electronic seal, these documents can be "sealed" with Community evidential effectiveness.
Integrity, not identity
As already mentioned above, the electronic seal is defined as "data in electronic form, enclosed or connected by logical association to other data in electronic form to guarantee the origin and integrity of the latter".
From this definition, it is evident to learn that the electronic seal can ascertain origin and integrity of the data, without however ascertaining and ensuring the identity of the signer. The electronic signature instead - being connected to a physical and non-juridical person - is able to confirm also the identity of the person who has decided to sign the document.
The core component of the Aliaslab signature platform has received the certification of "Qualified Signature Creation Device" (a device that allows the creation of both qualified signatures and qualified electronic seals) from the prestigious Austrian A-SIT agency. The "qualified electronic seal" is an indispensable guarantee instrument for the integrity function of the IT document or of the digital asset on which it is affixed.
European and national regulations
The electronic seal, introduced as an electronic tool by the eIDAS regulation very recently, certainly can’t boast the "historical duration" of the electronic signature, against which - however - it totally overlaps the technical level.
"Different ages" have generated some problems regarding the "coordination of regulations"; in fact, the national legislator, except to mention the definitions of the eIDAS Regulation, has not established precise rules for the effectiveness and probative value of the electronic seal.
This "omission" derives from the fact that the national regulation confirms what has been decided at European level. However, this means that the electronic seal remains free from the national rules with respect to subscriptions, well regulated by the provisions of the Civil Code.
Founded with the aim of becoming a point of reference in the IT sector, AliasLab has been the undisputed protagonist since 1984 in the development and progress of extremely innovative software solutions. Its areas of excellence in recent years, aimed at both the domestic and foreign markets, have focused in particular on computer security, electronic signature and mobile payments.
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