The Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations own been laid priorto parliament by the UK government and are scheduled to come into force on 22 July.

The Regulations implement EU rules on electronic identification (e-ID) and trust services that were enacted into EU law in 2014.

The EU regulation is designed to promote mutual recognition among EU countries of national electronic identification schemes that may operate. It also imposes fresh security obligations on trust service providers as well as rules on authentication of individuals and privacy.

Trust service providers are companies that create, substantiate and validate electronic signatures, seals, period stamps, registered delivery services and certificates related to those services or certificates for website authentication, or which preserve electronic signatures, seals or certificates for such services.

below the EU framework, trust service providers can apply for ‘qualified status’ and can display an “EU trustmark to indicate in a simple, recognisable and clear manner the qualified trust services they provide”.

The EU rules also lay out standards for enabling electronic signatures to seize on the “equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature”. Similar measures are designed to handover recognition to electronic seals and electronic period stamps on digital documents to validate and substantiate online agreements.

Trust service providers in the UK that breach the e-ID regulations face being fined £1,000 by the ICO, although those businesses can raise an appeal priorto the Information Rights Tribunal.

The UK’s Electronic Signatures Regulations will be revoked when the fresh rules seize effect, although existing certificates issued to confirm the identity of e-signatories will persevere to be recognised below the fresh regulations until they expire.