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Jun 20, 2022

The Qualified e-Signature (QES): what is it and what is it used for

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The Qualified e-Signature (QES): what is it and what is it used for

WHAT IS A QUALIFIED ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE (QES MEANING) 

So, what is a Qualified Electronic Signature or QES? The Qualified e-Signature (QES) is perceived as the most complete and secure method to digitally prove the identity of a subject and the acceptance of the content of a document.  

Therefore, QES definition could be an e-Signature that is backed by a qualified certificate that identifies the signer reliably and protects the documents against tampering or forgery in such a secure way that has the same legal enforceability as a handwritten signature. 

Discover the digital onboarding of Qualified Electronic Signature based on VideoID, legally binding across the EU.

THE QUALIFIED e-SIGNATURE (QES) 

Among the different types of electronic signatures, the qualified e-signature is the one that provides the highest level of security and truthfulness. A QES cannot be dismissed based solely on its electronic nature or be denied admissibility as evidence. Although QES is more complex than the rest of them, QES provides legal validity with a level of legitimacy even higher than the traditional handwritten signature. A QES signature is, therefore, legally equivalent to a traditional handwritten signature. 

The Qualified Electronic Signature is an e-Signature that is made with a qualified certificate for identifying the signer. This qualified electronic signature certificate consists of an electronic document that links the data of the signer and the validation of the QES signature to the unequivocal identification of the subject. The QES certificate must have been issued by a qualified certification authority

Due to this e-Certificate, the qualified electronic signature would not need any type of expert evidence in a court in case of conflict since it is considered a piece of totally valid evidence with the highest level of legitimacy, originality and inviolability required. 

The qualified electronic signature shares all the characteristics of the advanced electronic signature, such as being linked to the signer in a unique and non-transferable way and being linked to the document to be signed in such a way that both the Advanced or QES digital signature and the document cannot be altered in a later process. However, only the Qualified e-Signature has the highest legal enforceability and protection against the court, given the case. 

HOW TO GET A QUALIFIED ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE? QES TYPES 

The Qualified Electronic Signature can be generated in two different variants, which differ mainly by its generation process and the type of qualified certificate: 

Local Qualified Electronic Signature  

The electronic certificate for local Qualified Electronic Signature is hosted on the signer’s device. These QES certificates can be generated on a cryptographic card, through a USB token or as a cryptographic seal software.  

This type of QES software works in any operating system and browser since it is installed on the signer’s device previously. It is the standard and most common method for using a Qualified e-Signature. 

Centralized qualified electronic signature 

The Qualified Electronic Signature and qualified certificate for e-signature are located in a single repository on a secure and supervised server.  

This second type of Qualified Electronic Signature is commonly used in organizations; it is more versatile, and the signer can access it from any computer or mobile device with internet access. Still, centralized Qualified Electronic Signature services are offered for individuals, with all its advantages and versatility. 

EU QUALIFIED ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE REGULATIONS (eIDAS) 

910/2014 European Union Regulation regarding electronic identification and trust services, known as eIDAS (electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services), describes the different types of electronic signature. It is the pioneering rule for electronic signature worldwide and the standard in which the regulations of other states and countries are set to develop their own regulations. 

eIDAS regulations prohibits EU member states from requiring a higher-level signature – there is no higher form of digital signature than the QES qualified digital signature. (Specified in eIDAS Article 27). 

EIDAS AND THE QUALIFIED ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE 

According to eIDAS, the creation of e-Signatures can only be carried out if it is backed by qualified certificates. These can only be issued by a Qualified Trust Service Provider (TSP) who is supervised and confirmed as European Trusted Provider (Qualified Electronic Signature Providers) via the EU Trusted List. 

Download the guide on eIDAS and AML and get into the regulations affecting financial companies in Europe. 

QES+: ELECTRONIC IDENTIFICATION’S QUALIFIED ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE & VIDEOID 

QES+ is set as a comprehensive onboarding and Qualified e-Signature solution based on VideoID. It adapts to the needs of each situation and medium and can be integrated into companies’ applications and websites so that its users can sign in a bank or FinTech, sign documents, and make contracts. 

Watch our QES+ recorded webinar and discover the most disruptive onboarding technology for Europe.

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