firma electrónica

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Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, declaring the state of emergency, establishes in its third additional provision the suspension of terms and the interruption of limitation periods. This also affects authorization procedures for new identification and e-signature procedures used by the public administrations, at precisely a time when electronic dealings between citizens and the authorities are of particular importance.

For this reason, the General Secretary of Digital Administration has issued a resolution dated April 29, 2020, and published in the Official Gazette of the Spanish State the following day, approving the continuance of administrative procedures that authorize new e-signature and identification systems, under Articles 9.2(c) and 10.2(c) of Spanish Act 39/2015, of October 1, on Common Administrative Procedures for the Public Administration.

The grounds for continuing administrative procedures are regulated in Royal Decree 463/2020 and refer to situations that are essential for the basic functioning of services.

The General Secretary of Digital Administration considers that this requirement is essential in electronic dealings between citizens and the administration and declared that “this measure has been adopted as it is regarded to be vital for the basic functioning of services.”

Restarting procedures and declaring the importance of identification and e-signature systems are not the only key features of the resolution. Despite being short, the resolution references on multiple occasions the flexibility of possible systems, which could be “identification codes and any other system that the administration considers appropriate.” This opens the door not just to “traditional” mechanisms based on certificates, but also other identification and signature systems better adapted to modern life, such as those based on biometry.

This initiative is to be applauded. We will have to follow the results closely and support the administration in making useful identification and e-signature tools available to citizens.

By Álvaro Bourkaib

This post is also available in: Español



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