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UNITED NATIONS COMMISION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW Enhancing legal certainty for electronic signatures and other authentication methods José Angelo Estrella.

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Presentation on theme: "UNITED NATIONS COMMISION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW Enhancing legal certainty for electronic signatures and other authentication methods José Angelo Estrella."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNITED NATIONS COMMISION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW Enhancing legal certainty for electronic signatures and other authentication methods José Angelo Estrella Faria Legal Officer UNCITRAL secretariat

2 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Introduction –New technologies, e-commerce and the law –Are new laws needed? –Role of the law and party autonomy –Need for international standards

3 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Recognized principles for E-commerce legislation –Enabling, rather than overly regulating –Providing for functional equivalence –Default rules and mandatory law

4 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Positive experience with UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce –Adoption by Australia, Bermuda, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Hong Kong SAR, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Thailand –Uniform Acts in Canada and USA

5 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Developing generally accepted criteria for recognition of electronic signatures –Parties to use a method to identify the signatory and to indicate his approval of the information contained in the data message; –Method to be as reliable as appropriate for the purpose for which the data message was generated or communicated.

6 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Electronic authentication technologies: Assymetric cryptography Application: Public key systems Advantage: High security level Disadvantage: Usually requires Public Key Infrastructure

7 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Electronic authentication technologies: Symetric cryptography Application: Private key systems Advantages: Speed, no third party involved Disadvantage: Risk of compromise during transmission of key

8 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Electronic authentication technologies: Sharing of codes and secrets Application: PINs, SmartCards Advantage: Speed, no third party involved Disadvantage: Risk of compromise

9 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Electronic authentication technologies: Biometrics Application: Fingerprints, hand geometry, eye patterns, voice recognition Advantage: High security level (unique data) Disadvantage: Requires optical reading equipment

10 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Electronic authentication technologies: Other methods Application: Verification of address or internet domain Advantages: Ease of use, speed, low cost Disadvantage: Low level of security

11 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Policy approaches to electronic signatures - legal certainty vs. technology neutrality –Prescriptive legislation (India, Malaysia) –Two-tier legislation (EU, Pakistan, Singapore) –Minimalistic legislation (Australia, USA)

12 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Policy approaches to electronic signatures - certification authorities –Free market approach –Licensing schemes –Electronic notary

13 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Policy approaches to electronic signatures - Additional problems –Duties of signatories and relying parties –Liability of certification authorities –Cross-certification and foreign certificates

14 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Main features of the Model Law - Treats signature technologies equally (Art. 3); - Offers criteria for functional equivalence (Art.6); - Allows States to indicate in advance recognized signature methods (Art.7); - Sets rules of conduct for signatory (Art.8); certification services provider (Art. 9); and relying party (Art. 11); - Offers minimum standards for cross-border recognition (Art. 12).

15 UNCITRAL: Electronic signatures and authentication methods Thank you for your attention! For further information on the work of UNCITRAL on electronic commerce and electronic signatures, please check our web site:


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