On November 7, the Law On Electronic Trust Services, which can be easily called a revolutionary law, came into effect.
It is expected that the law will bring such long-awaited things as European electronic identification standards, namely electronic seals, electronic signatures, registered electronic delivery and even electronic timestamps for electronic data, into our lives.
In essence, this law creates conditions to “automate” a number of relations, primarily between the state and business, while opening up new opportunities for the latter. In particular, these are financial opportunities, because online services will replace tons of paper and time previously spent on bureaucratic procedures. For citizens, this creates more opportunities to obtain administrative services online. In addition, the law will have a positive impact on international relations, in particular, the economic ones, since, from now on, it will harmonize the requirements for electronic trust services and e-identification means with European and international standards. In such a way, this will allow our entrepreneurs to be fully engaged in international e-commerce.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to make it work. First of all, this relates to the drafting of subordinate acts to introduce all the novelties.
But first of all, let’s talk about what specific benefits this law will bring and what exactly the trust services are:
So, the key innovations are the introduction of:
European electronic identification schemes involve high, medium and low levels of confidence in electronic identification means. Using qualified electronic signatures and seals will provide the high level of confidence, while using the advanced ones – the medium level. Electronic identification schemes should be developed by the Ministry of Justice and approved by the government.
One of the key advantages of introducing electronic identification according to international standards is the mutual recognition of Ukrainian and foreign certificates of public keys and electronic signatures. That is, electronic identification means issued in Ukraine can be used abroad, and Ukraine will recognize the means issued in other countries. This will allow, for example, companies to conclude contracts without a lot of paperwork, send documents to get higher education online, receive services from state or local authorities abroad, etc.
The implementation of this requirement of the law implies the conclusion of relevant international agreements on the recognition of electronic identification schemes and, again, the adoption of a series of subordinate acts.
Another important innovation is the introduction of interoperability, that is, ensuring the compatible functionality of technical solutions used when providing electronic services and their ability to interact with each other. This is one of the conditions for automated data exchange between information and telecommunication systems of government authorities. This will increase the availability of administrative services and remove the “human factor” in government agencies.
In addition, it provides for the technological neutrality of national technical solutions in the process of developing electronic signature or seal means, which allows the free choice of necessary identification technologies. And it will also contribute to the development of competition in this market.
The law also provides for a detailed regulation of the provision of legally valid qualified e-trust services and minimization of the regulatory impact on the provision of services without using a qualified electronic signature. In particular, it is important for confirming the legal fact of sending and receiving electronic data to regulate the provision of electronic delivery services.
In general, reforming the system of legal e-identification regulation aims at increasing trust in online services and expanding the scope of electronic identification, in particular through the MobileID and BankID introduction.
Electronic digital signatures issued earlier will be used until their expiration date, but no later than November 2020, and existing accredited key certification centers will automatically be included into a new list of trust services.
Currently, the BRDO Office is carrying out an analysis of the regulatory environment in this area, which aims at working out joint steps with stakeholders to improve the regulatory framework in this sector.
So, if briefly summed up, the law will have a positive impact on the development of e-governance and expand business opportunities. However, it is necessary to develop the relevant regulatory legal framework no later than November 2019 for the full implementation of the law.
I hope we will make it in time, because some regulations have been already developed by the Ministry of Justice and the State Agency for Electronic Governance.
This article is co-authored with Nadiya Kostryba, key IT and Telecom sector expert at BRDO.
The views expressed in this article reflect solely the author’s point of view and do not necessarily coincide with the position of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.