In this edition of Blanco’s Jargon Buster series, we’re focusing on eIDAS, or electronic IDentification Authentication and trust Services.
What is eIDAS?
electronic IDentification Authentication and trust Services (eIDAS) is an EU regulation established on 23 July 2014. It regulates the electronic signatures, electronic transactions, the relevant institutions and their embedding processes to ensure users have safe and secure ways to do business online. For example, electronic IDentification (eIDs) and trust services are used to initiate electronic funds transfers and transactions with public institutions.
eIDAS provides both signatories and recipients with greater convenience and security. It ensures that trust services and eIDs will work internationally and that they have the same legal authority as their paper-based equivalents, such as a user posting, faxing or appearing in-person to verify their identity before signing documents and initiating transactions.
The eIDAS regulation enables people and organisations to access online services across the EU by using their national eIDs. This means that users can perform identity checks and carry out transactions online and internationally.
What is an eID, a trust service and a Trust Service Provider (TSP)?
eIDAS is responsible for regulating electronic IDentification (eID) and trust services for transactions within the EU. That’s quite a mouthful, so let’s break it down a little.
Electronic IDentification (eID) is an electronic proof of identity for people and organisations. Their main use is to enable users to digitally-sign documents as well as to authenticate an individual or a business’s identity and log in to online services.
Trust services are a series of rules introduced by the EU to help authenticate digital identities. They use eIDs and Trust Service Providers (TSPs) to authorise and issue digital certificates as proof of identity. A TSP is a recognised body that issues and maintains the digital certificates that serve to authenticate users’ identities online, for example to authenticate electronic signatures and signatories.
So in sum, eIDAS establishes the framework and oversees the process to verify users’ digital identities and sign documents online. It also supervises the trust services used to authenticate online transactions.
How eIDAS works
eIDAS was introduced to facilitate secure and seamless electronic transactions in the EU. Electronic signatures that meet the eIDAS standards have to be recognised by member states.
eIDAS outlines the standards for electronic transactions use by electronic signatures, digital certificates, electronic seals, timestamps and other authentication tools. Most importantly, these methods have the same legal status as their traditional paper-based equivalents.
eIDAS covers a range of services including online identity verification for people and organisations as well as verifying and authenticating electronic documents. For example, its framework is used to authenticate electronic identification for international transactions.
The benefits of eIDAS
eIDAS has established the foundations and legal framework for people, businesses and public bodies to safely and securely access online services and carry out transactions with great convenience.
Thanks to eIDAS, online transactions are now both easier and more secure with “one-click” transactions. For example, transactions facilitated by eIDAS include submitting tax documents, opening bank accounts, authenticating payments and bidding for tenders both online and internationally at the click of a button.
Stay tuned for our next jargon-busting article!