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Electronic signatures and law

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Worldwide, legislation concerning the effect and validity of electronic signatures, including, but not limited to, cryptographic digital signatures, includes:




  • Medida provisória 2.200-2 (Portuguese) - Brazilian law states that any digital document is valid for the law if it is certified by ICP-Brasil (the official Brazilian PKI) or if it is certified by other PKI and the concerned parties agree as to the validity of the document.


  • PIPEDA - Canadian law distinguishes between the generic "electronic signature" and the "secure electronic signature". Federal secure electronic signature regulations make it clear that a secure electronic signature is a digital signature created and verified in a specific manner. Canada's Evidence Act contains evidentiary presumptions about both the integrity and validity of electronic documents with attached secure electronic signatures, and of the authenticity of the secure electronic signatures themselves.


  • Electronic Signature Law of the People's Republic of China (Chinese/English) - The stated purposes include standardizing the conduct of electronic signatures, confirming the legal validity of electronic signatures and safeguarding the legal interests of parties involved in such matters. This law was revised on 23 April 2019 with immediate effect.[1] The revision involves the deletion of the reference to land conveyancing transactions in Article 3, which provides for types of transaction exempted from the law. Accordingly, land conveyancing agreements can now be executed electronically.


European Union and the European Economic Area[edit]

The eIDAS regulation.[2][3][4]

In the EU, electronic signatures and related trust services are regulated by the Regulation (EU) N°910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation). This regulation was adopted by the Council of the European Union on 23 July 2014. It became effective on 1 July and repealed the Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC. At the same date, any laws of EU member states that were inconsistent with eIDAS were also automatically repealed, replaced or modified. In contract to the aforementioned directive (which allowed the EU member states to interpret it and transpose it to their own law) the eIDAS Regulation is directly effective in all member states.

Before eIDAS[edit]

European Union Directive establishing the framework for electronic signatures:












New Zealand[edit]

For an overview of the New Zealand law refer: - The Laws of New Zealand, Electronic Transactions, paras 16-18; or - Commercial Law, paras 8A.7.1-8A.7.4. (these sources are available on the LexisNexis subscription-only website)



Russian Federation[edit]


South Africa[edit]



United Nations Commission on International Trade Law[edit]

United States[edit]

Case law[edit]

Court decisions discussing the effect and validity of digital signatures or digital signature-related legislation:

  • In re Piranha, Inc., 2003 WL 21468504 (N.D. Tex) (UETA does not preclude a person from contesting that he executed, adopted, or authorized an electronic signature that is purportedly his).
  • Cloud Corp. v. Hasbro, 314 F.3d 289 (7th Cir., 2002) EMLF.org (E-SIGN does not apply retroactively to contracts formed before it took effect in 2000. Nevertheless, the statute of frauds was satisfied by the text of E-mail plus an (apparently) written notation.)
  • Sea-Land Service, Inc. v. Lozen International, 285 F.3d 808 (9th Cir., 2002) Admiraltylawguide.com (Internal corporate E-mail with signature block, forwarded to a third party by another employee, was admissible over hearsay objection as a party-admission, where the statement was apparently within the scope of the author's and forwarder's employment.)


Uruguay laws include both, electronic and digital signatures:


Turkey has an Electronic Signature Law TBMM.gov.tr since 2004. This law is stated in European Union Directive 1999/93/EC. Turkey has a Government Certificate Authority - Kamu SM for all government agents for their internal use and three independent certificate authorities all of which are issuing qualified digital signatures.


  1. ^ http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/2019-05/07/content_2086835.htm 中华人民共和国电子签名法 (Chinese Only)
  2. ^ "Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC". EUR-Lex. 23 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Questions & Answers on Trust Services under eIDAS". Digital Single Market - News. European Commission. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ Dan Puterbaugh (1 March 2016). "Understanding eIDAS – All you ever wanted to know about the new EU Electronic Signature Regulation". Legal IT Insider. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Fatal error leads TURKTRUST to issue dangerous SSL certificates". The H. 4 January 2013. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  6. ^ "TURKTRUST Unauthorized CA Certificates | Entrust, Inc". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  7. ^ "IT news, careers, business technology, reviews".
  8. ^ "- SSL Secure Server Certificate - TURKTRUST". Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Srivastava Aashish, Electronic Signatures for B2B Contracts: Evidence from Australia (Springer, 2013)
  • Lorna Brazell, Electronic Signatures Law and Regulation, (Sweet & Maxwell, 2004)
  • J. Buckley, J. Kromer, M. Tank, R. Whitaker, The Law of Electronic Signatures, 2014-2015 Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2014)
  • Dennis Campbell, editor, E-Commerce and the Law of Digital Signatures (Oceana Publications, 2005)
  • M. H. M Schellenkens, Electronic Signatures Authentication Technology from a Legal Perspective, (TMC Asser Press, 2004)