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QuoVadis is ready for changes to Swiss ZertES e-signature law, keeping step with eIDAS
24 Nov 2016

The Swiss Federal Council approved the total revision of the electronic signature regulation on November 23, 2016. Thus, the new federal law on certification authority services in the field of electronic signatures and other applications of digital certificates (ZertES) enters into force on January 1, 2017. The updated law is published here on the website of the Swiss Federation.

The updated Swiss ZertES is designed to stay in step with EU initiatives like eIDAS (EU Regulation No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market, which replaced the previous Directive 1999/93/EC).  Important innovations are: 

  • Introduction of the regulated certificate 
  • Introduction of electronic seals for organizations 
  • Obligation to use a qualified timestamp for qualified electronic signatures 
  • Exemption from the requirement to appear in person in the identification for the issuance of regulated certificates

Newly, the scope of the law is extended from the handling of certificates for affixing electronic signatures which are legally equivalent to handwriting, to also include certificates for organizations, so-called electronic seals, and certificates for electronic identification or the encryption of electronic data.

Regulated certificates with the purpose of providing a legally binding signature on an electronic document may still be issued only to natural persons. The law is extended to the extent that the use of a qualified time stamp is now required for a qualified electronic signature.

“Electronic seals” are issued to organizations and authorities with UID numbers. This allows companies and public authorities to document the integrity and origin of documents without doubt. The new legislation facilitates the online collaboration with public authorities in many areas.

Perhaps the most significant change in ZertES is that recognized providers like QuoVadis may conduct validation of personal identification for regulated certificates online, allowing real time issuance of certificates. In-person vetting is thereby omitted, while observing certain basic conditions. This allows fully digitized processes, such as contracts with persons who have not previously had a digital certificate. Especially in the financial sector, new customer acquisition can be done efficiently and completely digitally.

QuoVadis is ready for the new ZertES and extends its product portfolio according to the new possibilities so that existing and new customer requirements can be covered as flexibly and simply as possible. QuoVadis already offers solutions for the issuance of regulated certificates in real time and the subsequent contract signature, which can be used, for example, in the context of complete digital onboarding.