The electronic signature is a set of electronic data that accompanies or is associated with an electronic document and whose basic functions are:
- Identify the signer unequivocally
- Ensure the integrity of the signed document.Ensures that the signed document is exactly the same as the original and that it has not been altered or manipulated
- Ensure non-repudiation of the signed document.The data that the signer uses to perform the signature are unique and exclusive and, therefore, later, he cannot say that he has not signed the document
The legal basis of the Electronic Signature is set out in Law 59/2003 on Electronic Signature and is developed in more depth in the Legal Base of Signatures section . The section also explores, under what circumstances the law equates the electronic signature to the handwritten signature, adds notes regarding European regulations and makes different legal references to time stamp and advanced signatures.
The Electronic Certificate, basis of the electronic signature
To sign a document it is necessary to have a digital certificate or an electronic ID.The electronic certificate or the electronic DNI contains cryptographic keys that are the necessary elements to sign. Electronic certificates are intended to unequivocally identify their holder and are issued by Certification Service Providers.
The Basic Electronic Signature Process
The basic process that is followed for the electronic signature is as follows:
- The user has an electronic document (a spreadsheet, a pdf, an image, even a form on a web page) and a certificate that belongs to him and identifies him.
- The application or digital device used for the signature summarizes the document.The summary of a large document can be as short as a few lines. This summary is unique and any modification of the document also implies a modification of the summary.
- The application uses the private key to encrypt the summary.
- The application creates another electronic document that contains that encrypted summary.This new document is the electronic signature.
- The result of all this process is an electronic document obtained from the original document and the signer’s passwords.The electronic signature, therefore, is the same resulting electronic document.
The electronic signature free is the resulting electronic file or document . This is the valid document for legal purposes and the one you should keep . Any impression or graphic representation that is made of it is only valid in the terms determined by the recipient of the signature. In general, in this case, the printed signature must contain a CSV or Secure Verification Code that allows the printed copy to be compared with the electronic original.
How do I sign a document?
Some of the questions that may arise in the previous process are:
- What tool should I use to sign?
- And when I sign a form on the internet, do I have to install something or does my browser do it all automatically?
- How do I use the electronic ID from my computer?How do I install the DNI reader?
- Since we are talking about an electronic signature, the signature must be done electronically and you can do it in two ways:
- Downloading an application on your PC: In this case you use to sign the application that you install on your computer and you do not need to be connected to the internet.The application to use is AutoFirma, from the Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations.
- Sign directly on the internet: This option is used especially when you sign forms or requests, for example, in relation to the Public Administration.But you can also sign your own documents on the internet using the service offered by VALIDe. To sign you must download a component that works on the same browser.
What practical use does the electronic signature have?
It provides three characteristics in Internet communication: identification of the signer, data integrity and non-repudiation.
But apart from that, the practical applications of it are many and varied.
In general, they are oriented to carry out operations over the Internet that in daily life require a signature to validate them.
Some examples of operations that can be performed currently using the digital signature are:
- Making the Income Statement through the Internet.
- Requests in electronic administrative records
- Request for working life.
- Receipt of electronic notifications.
- Email signature.
- Electronic invoice signature.
How can I verify a signed document?
If we receive an eSign Documents, we are interested in validating the signature, that is, checking that the signed data corresponds to the original data, that the certificate with which it has been signed is valid and that the file structure is correct.