EFPE 2012 – the Europe’s largest international conference on electronic signature and PKI focused on this year over 120 participants from 17 countries.
Among them were the representatives of the European Commission, government offices and agencies of government (including the Ministry of Economy, Administration and Digitization of Republic of Poland), local governments, producers of software and hardware solutions and certification centres providing services related to electronic signature. In this year the main topic of the conference was “Trust and Security on Digital Internal Market”.
The event from which started the conference EFPE in this year’s was the retransmission of the press conference from Brussels which was in connection with the publication of the European Commission’s draft of the regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions on the internal market
It is expected that the Regulation shall replace the existing EU Directive of 1999 and will cause a breakthrough in the development of electronically supplied services.
The acceptance of this Regulation by European Parliament shall mean the validity throughout the EU single framework for market of electronic services and shall result in revocation of national laws on electronic signatures and the need to modify a number of other legal provisions which concern this market in the Member States of EU.
The EFPE Conference, as every year, has become an international forum for exchanging of information and views, the lectures and presentations evoked heated discussions with experts of the European Commission. A huge interest sparked the speech of Gerard Galler, the representative of General Directorate for Information Society and Media of European Commission, under the topic ”European Commission proposal for a Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions within the Internal Market” during which he presented for the first time in public and discussed in detail the project of new regulations. The topic of the Digital Internal Market in Europe, the security of electronic services and the usefulness of electronic signatures for ordinary citizens has dominated as a result of the deliberations of round tables and backstage conversations.
At the end of the Conference it was formulated the Memorandum EFPE 2012 as a result and a summary of the three-day meeting addressed among others to representatives of governments which are co-responsible for the creation of normative acts which favour the development of the internal electronic market and the common European space of trust.
XII European Forum on Electronic Signature – EFPE 2012
Międzyzdroje, June 4-6, 2012
At the opening of the 12th meeting of the European Forum on Electronic Signature on 4th of June The European Commission announced a draft of “Regulation on electronic identification and trusted services for electronic transactions in the internal market”. Participants of the Forum in their presentations and discussions at the round tables have evaluated the current state of the internal European electronic market and the space of the trust through the prism of this Regulation. Summary of the conference containing the conclusions reached by the participants, proposals and recommendations have been presented in this Memorandum, which is directed to the appropriate authorities and national and European institutions, including the people and institutions which were taken under the honorary patronage of:
- Mrs. Neelie Kroes – Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda,
- Mr Waldemar Pawlak – Minister of Economy of the Republic of Poland, Deputy Prime Minister,
- Mr Michał Boni – Minister of Administration and Digitization of the Republic of Poland,
- Polish Chamber of Information and Telecommunications,
- Committee on Innovation and New Technology of the Sejm of the Republic Poland,
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN),
and a number of offices of National and European institutions.
- Participants of the conference with satisfaction concluded that with high priority is still pursued work on the EC for the adoption of a common “European Interoperability Strategy and Framework”, implemented within the measure “Interoperability and Standards”, which main aim is to prevent the fragmentation of the market and accelerate the achievement of the goal of creating the internal electronic market and the common European space of trust.
- Participants of the conference positively evaluated the action of the European Commission to replace the existing Directive 1999/93/EC by Regulation, which will be in fact a stronger form of intervention that not only will overwrite the current Directive, but also the national laws. The use of the regulations of the European Parliament and the Council based on a decision of the European Commission should ensure that EU citizens will be able to use the tools, which will have assigned in all Member States the same legal value, the same meaning and same legal implications. Service providers will be able to provide services in other countries without having to confront the problems posed by the fragmentation of the market, different perception of the eligible service or other problems resulting from differences in legal systems.
- It was noted with approval that the regulations are covered by a trusted services which were not yet been fixed by law. The definition of these services and the determination of their qualified forms at the EU level is an important step towards building the European space of trust.
- The attention was paid to practical implications of the distinction in regulations of the electronic signature services addressed to individuals and services for electronic seals addressed to legal persons.
- Legal basis of the European TSP system, which for certain time has been developed, should lead to faster development of trusted digital validation services across the borders.
- It was noted with approval that the draft of the regulation is entirely new regularization of legal situation of SSL certificates, which are used for web authentication.
- It was pointed out that the establishment of a legal framework for authentication services related to the websites should be linked with user-friendly tools, which will provide a clear understanding of the level of trust for presented web pages.
- There is a need to clarify the criteria for recognition of the certificates outside the European Union, as well as to determine the conditions for accepting of the electronically signed document, the original of which is only in electronic form. It was paid attention to the important role of trusted and qualified validation services in this area.
- It was observed that currently being implemented or planned by certain Member States solutions for identification and authentication are not consistent with procedure of Regulation. Therefore it seems to be justified to recommend the governments of those countries to analyze the compatibility their own solutions with about discussed project and actively trace of legislative process associated with the acceptance of this Regulation by the European Parliament. Otherwise, the costs of developing national concepts can at least do not bring the assumed benefits for citizens of those countries on the EU market.
- It has been noted that new legislation should be implemented to allow the current qualified service providers for continuity management in all Member States.
- It was pointed out that the draft of the Regulation predicts no obligation of provision imposing on Member States to enter the electronic identity card or other electronic identification systems, but the absence of such practices in the country in this area which are in accordance with the Regulation will practically exclude its nationals operating on the EU internal market from using electronic services.
- The attention was paid to the need for effective exchange of experiences among the teams pursuing wide European projects such as PEPPOL, STORK or eCODEX to achieve the desired synergy. At the same time it was noted that some Member States do not participate in these projects, nor benefit from their results while making their own projects of a similar nature, but with completely different about business, technology and legal assumptions. Such actions do not encourage the realization of the Internal Market of electronic services. Measures should be taken at the European Commission to the interest of all Member States with the results of the worked out solutions in the EU-funded projects to ensure that all these countries could become beneficiaries of these projects.
- Participants of the conference believe that the actual is further demand from last year’s conference focusing that the public administration should increasingly rely on commercial solutions offered by service providers operating on the digital market. These solutions are based on proven models and European standards. However, participants stated with satisfaction that many of the demands made during last year’s conference (EFPE 2011) were reflected in the proposed on the 4th of June new European Regulation. The proposed framework and the rank of the proposed legislation will be in the conviction of the participants solid basis for building a common electronic market and the common European space of trust.