Out-going Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes called upon the President of the new European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to eliminate all paper processes and procedures in the new Commission and to become fully digital. During a ceremony for e-identification and trust services regulation Kroes asked Juncker to invest in new technologies, and in new systems, to lead Europe by example to become the “safest, securest, easiest place to transact online”. Kroes hopes that the use of online transactions and e-Signatures by the European Institutions will boost the confidence of consumers and businesses in online identification systems.
Electronic signatures to boost consumer confidence
The demands of Kroes follow the publication of the e-Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation last month. The Regulation introduces mutual recognition of electronic identification and electronic signatures throughout the European Union, which means that online identities for consumers will be recognized in each Member State and can make it much easier for online consumers to purchase cross-border.
Electronic identification to help online merchants
These online identities are key for online merchants for recognizing and identifying the consumer. These mechanisms help to reduce cybercrime and fraud risks. e-Identification based schemes would allow, for example, effective age verification, very useful for age-dependent services such as online gambling. Ecommerce Europe is convinced that secure, reliable, user-friendly and interoperable e-identification and authentication methods are necessary for the development of cross-border e-commerce.
Although these mechanisms are already widely used in the governmental and banking sector, their use in other economic sectors is still in its early stages. Ecommerce Europe therefore believes that a rapid implementation of the current e-Identification Regulation by Member States is essential to stimulate cross-border transactions, especially for the e-commerce sector. Ecommerce Europe will therefore advocate with Member States to kick start their e-ID systems as soon as possible.
This Regulation, which introduces mutual recognition of electronic identification between Member States, entered into force on 17 September. Now it is to the Member States to implement the regulation in their political systems. Member States can start joining the system for mutual recognition of national systems of e-identification on 1 July 2015, and the last day to join will be 1 July 2018.
If you would like to know more on this subject, a detailed overview of Ecommerce Europe’s position on the eIDAS Regulation can be found in our position paper “e-Identification & Online Trust Services: A Holistic Approach to e-Identification, Online Authentication and e-Signatures (2014)”.