The European Electronic Signature and Trust Services Forum (EFPE 2017) is one of the largest international conferences devoted to the matters of trust services. This year on 6-7 June, the city of Szczecin was the host to the 17th edition of the conference, the main theme of which was “Digital Identification and Mobile e-Services – Security and Accessibility”. This year’s edition of the EFPE 2017 was attended by more than 130 participants from 16 countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas, namely: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Luxemburg, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, United States of America, Ukraine, Uruguay, Great Britain and Italy. There were representatives of numerous prominent institutions, i.a. the European Commission, ETSI, the Polish Ministry of Digitalization, large institutions using trust services (including banks, government offices and agencies), manufacturers of software, equipment and providers of trust services connected with electronic signature and electronic identification.
In addition to the lectures and presentations, a special role during the conference was played by the discussions conducted in a substantive manner during the three discussion panels with the participation of representatives of business, administration and higher education sectors. The following topics were covered during the discussion panels:
This year’s conference has shown that trust services and electronic identification are becoming the tool for executing business objectives for entities from various sectors that have previously had neither the possibilities nor the knowledge that would allow them to take full advantage of their potential. The discussions held during the conference focused on the use of the means of electronic identification, electronic signature, and future delivery services in international exchange, in the public administration sector and in the commercial sector in parallel, with particular focus on the financial sector. As the one that is best prepared for the development of trust services, the financial sector is, in fact, the first stage of implementing the commonly used trust services.
An important provision is the aspect of the interaction of commercial tools in the digital structure of e-administration. Public administration, often emphasizing the development of its own services, such as the Trusted Profile in Poland, is not always able to recognize the benefits coming from synergy with other tools, which, in addition to the elementary functions, provide the users with the comfort of using added content, for instance, insurance, cross-bordering or universality of use.
The aspect that deserves distinction is undoubtedly the fact that public administration in most EU countries has already adopted their information systems to the use of trust services provided in accordance with the standards established by the regulations of eIDAS, which, among others, indicate the need to stop using the cryptographic hash function of SHA-1. It is important because these systems should seamlessly handle e-signatures, electronic stamps and time stamps after the introduced statutory changes, in order to ensure a higher level of security as well as an interoperability and crossbordering of the exchange of documents. In the countries where the pace of implementation of changes and requirements of the eIDAS regulation in public administration is insufficient, it is recommended that a close cooperation of the administration with commercial entities and academic centers is established, which will undoubtedly translate into an increased pace of implementation of changes. At the same time it should be noted that the trust services market is developing at a dynamic pace, meeting the requirements of both the individual countries and the international legislation. The entities operating on the market of trust services see its great potential which is additionally stimulated by the regulations introduced by the PSD2 directive (on payment services) and the RODO regulation (on personal data protection).
Currently, in the area of e-deliveries, it can be seen that there is no functional counterpart to crossborder nodes; however, the construction of such a structure does not necessarily have to be based on the solutions used in the eID areas. The essence of the problem should be sought in the ambiguous vision of the European Commission and the standardization organization concerning the integration of e-deliveries mechanisms in the structure of the European Union.
In the scope of the electronic stamp, in spite of the eIDAS regulations and the services being developed, it should be considered to send a joint message to the representative of public administration for the creation of a unified legislative solution suited to the electronic stamp solutions. Until the relevant regulations are introduced, the market of e-services should react dynamically, and the effects of using the electronic stamp at the level of the Member States can be determined at the level of the domain regulations and individual systems (e.g. registers that could issue electronically stamped declarations). However, to facilitate the rotation of documents with the electronic stamp at an international level, regulations would be needed to make it easier for the party accepting the document to evaluate its actual legal effect.
There is an upward trend in the availability of remote signature services in the global market, including in the European Union. It should be noted, at the same time, that there are legislation and standardization works being developed on the clarification of the guidelines that will become a determinant of the standardization of these services.
During the EFPE 2017 conference, the participants noted that the eID market, in global terms, was in the early stages of development. The eID report that was presented at the conference undoubtedly implies that the construction and development of a coherent system for electronic identification will provide measurable benefits for both the public administration, citizens and the commercial sector, planning the actions directly connected with the digital transformation. It is also necessary to develop catalysts for changes that may contribute to the success of the digital public administration. Making recommendations for the solutions of e-identity in the EU is one of the tasks of the European Commission.
Now is the time to broaden the market’s interest in the benefits of electronic identification services in connection with trust services, which will undoubtedly develop strongly in the coming years. The Participants and the organizers agreed that the EFPE conference is of great significance for spreading practical knowledge, and next year’s edition of this conference should specifically address the needs of new beneficiaries of electronic identification and trust services. Also, a greater cooperation between the public and the private sectors is expected. The effect of the synergy that is possible to achieve should contribute to the dissemination of the broadly defined electronic communication, at the same time making it fully cross-border.
This final document was prepared by international experts and participants during EFPE 2017 in English, Polish and Russian. We ask that politicians and legislators, in their future actions, consider this small contribution of the EFPE in the European and international discussion.KEEP READING
The purpose of this year’s conference are topics related with mID, eGo and ePUAP, eID and Mobile Connect as well as compatibility audits with eIDAS and ideas of developing a uniform mobile market by providing conditions that foster common cross-border acceptance of the principal activators, such as electronic identification, electronic documents, electronic signatures and electronic delivery services.
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