18 Feb 2020

The constant evolution and growth of electronic operations in the national and international context is an undeniable reality. Consequently, there is an imperative necessity to have technical mechanisms that allow for a real identification of the parties that interact in electronic operations, and that grants a reliable accreditation of their manifestation of intention in the cyberspace.

Under said context, Paraguay uses the electronic signature and the digital signature as technical mechanisms of security. Law N.° 4017/2010 “of the legal validity of the electronic signature, the digital signature, data messages, and the electronic file,” regulates the validity and use of the electronic and digital signatures.

According to the law, an electronic signature is a set of electronic data integrated, linked, and associated logically to other electronic data used by the signatory as a way to provide identification, which lacks any of the legal requirements to be considered a digital signature.[1] The password to access an e-mail or the pin used to perform homebanking transactions are examples of electronic signatures, as they identify a user. In cases in which an electronic signature is contested, the person invoking it is responsible for demonstrating its validity.

Moreover, a digital signature is an electronic signature that has been certified by an accredited provider, that has been created using means under the exclusive control of the holder, which binds him and the data to which he refers to, and allows the subsequent detection of any modification, verifying the identity of the holder and preventing the lack of knowledge of the document and its authorship.[2] The digital signature is comparable to a handwritten signature, and its validity is, therefore, the same.

Then, what is the difference between the digital signature and the electronic signature? The answer is simple. A digital signature must be certified by an accredited service provider.

The accredited service provider is the entity that certifies digital signatures[2], enabled by the competent authority. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC for its Spanish initials), through the Vice Ministry of Commerce, is the enforcement authority designated by Law N.° 4610/2012, which modifies the Law N.° 4017/2010 “of the legal validity of the electronic signature, the digital signature, data messages, and the electronic file.”

In Paraguay, CODE100, DOCUMENTA S.A., SSL Universal, among others, are accredited providers that certify digital signatures.

In today’s scenario, both individuals and entities, whether public or private, use these mechanisms to interact in their civil and commercial activities due to the guarantees that come with their use.

These guarantees, such as the identity and authenticity of the intervening individuals and/or entities in the interchange of information, the integrity of the exchanged information, and the non-repudiation of the signature, provide certainty and trust between the intervening parties. Also, time is optimized considerably, which is a crucial benefit of tools such as these ones.

In addition, the use of electronic and digital signatures results in a decrease of paper documents, which has positive repercussions for the environment.

For more information on digital signatures, contact Larissa Lacout llacout@altra.com.py

[1] Article 2 of the Law N.° 4017/2010 “of the legal validity of the electronic signature, the digital signature, data messages, and the electronic file”. En linea.http://www.bacn.gov.py/leyes-paraguayas/3550/de-validez-juridica-de-la-firma-electronica-la-firma-digital-los-mensajes-de-datos-y-el-expediente-electronico
[2]  Article 2 of the Law N.° 4017/2010 “of the legal validity of the electronic signature, the digital signature, data messages, and the electronic file”. En linea.http://www.bacn.gov.py/leyes-paraguayas/3550/de-validez-juridica-de-la-firma-electronica-la-firma-digital-los-mensajes-de-datos-y-el-expediente-electronico
[3]  Article 2 of the Law N.° 4017/2010 “of the legal validity of the electronic signature, the digital signature, data messages, and the electronic file”. En linea.http://www.bacn.gov.py/leyes-paraguayas/3550/de-validez-juridica-de-la-firma-electronica-la-firma-digital-los-mensajes-de-datos-y-el-expediente-electronico

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