Developing Measures and Standards for the European Electronic Signatures Market

Developing Measures and Standards for the European Electronic Signatures Market

Ioannis P. Chochliouros (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A., Greece Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A., Greece Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A., Greece General Prefectorial Hospital “G)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-064-6.ch002
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The European Authorities have promoted a specific and innovative framework for the use of electronic signatures, allowing the free flow of electronic signature-related products and services cross borders, and ensuring a basic legal recognition of such facilities. The core aim was to promote the emergence of the internal market for certification products, mainly intending to satisfy various requirements for the proper use and immediate “adoption” of electronic signature applications related to e-government and personal e-banking services. Thus, a number of technical, procedural, and quality standards for electronic signature products and solutions have been developed, all conforming to the requirements imposed by the EU regulation and the relevant market needs. In the present work, we examine the role of standardization activities for the promotion of several needs of an “open” European market based on the effective usage of e-signatures, and being able to affect a great variety of technological, business- commercial, regulatory, and other issues. In any case, the transposition of legal requirements into technical specifications (or business practices) needs to be harmonized at a European member-states’ level in order to enable adequate interoperability of the final solutions proposed. Appropriate technical standards for the sector can help to establish a presumption of conformity that the electronic signature products following or implementing them comply with all the legal requirements imposed, in the background of the actual European policies. Thus we discuss recent European and/or national initiatives to fulfil such a fundamental option. The European Electronic Signature Standardization Initiative (EESSI) has been set up under the auspices of the European Commission for the carrying out of a work program aiming at the development of standards (be it technical specifications or policy practices) that would facilitate the implementation of the basic legal instrument (the “Electronic Signatures Directive”). Two major streams of possible standards-setting work have been determined, covering: (i) Qualitative and procedural standards for the provision of certification services and (ii) technical standards for product interoperability. We identify (and evaluate at a primary level) the basic components/modules of EESSI’s specific results, already developed and offered in the market either as technical regulations and/or as recognized standards, with respect to essential requirements imposed by the European regulation. We also discuss relevant “feedback” already gained from various market areas and we focus on challenges for further implementation, progress, adoption, and development, especially in the framework for the promotion of converged broadband (Internet-based) communications facilities. It is important for the market that expected standardization work takes into account new technological developments as, in the future, users will move their e-signature key from device-to-device in a connected world. The added value of standards in the e-signatures sector, for both end users and assessing parties (judge, arbitrator, conformity assessment body, etc.) is of extreme importance for the future of the European electronic communications market.
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The digital technological landscape has changed significantly during the past decade. New communication technologies, new media, the Internet, and devices carrying new functionalities are expected to meet consumers’ demand for seamless, simple, and user-friendly digital tools providing access to an extended range of services and content (i2010 High Level Group, 2006). In fact, electronic communication via open networks such as the Internet has been remarkably increased and expanded, on a scale unimaginable some years ago. As a consequence, electronic communication networks and information systems have been developed exponentially in recent years and are now an essential part of the daily lives of almost all European citizens (European Commission, 2002); in addition, they both constitute fundamental “tools” to the success of the broader European economy in the international scenery (Chochliouros & Spiliopoulou, 2005).

In particular, networks and information systems are converging and becoming increasingly interconnected, thus creating a variety of potential opportunities for all categories of “players” involved. This rapid expansion concerns all sectors of human activity, whether business, public services, or the private sphere. Actually, global networks have truly become the “lifeblood” of our societies and economies: An overwhelming number of employees use a mobile phone, a laptop, or a similar device to send or retrieve information for their work. Furthermore, in multiple cases, such information can represent a considerable value, for instance, describe a business transaction or contain technical knowledge (Lalopoulos, Chochliouros, & Spiliopoulou, 2004).

Despite the many and obvious benefits of the modern electronic communications development, this evolutionary process has also brought with it the worrying threat of intentional attacks against information systems and network infrastructures (European Commission, 2000). As cyberspace gets more and more complex and its components more and more sophisticated, especially due to the fast development and evolution of (broadband) Internet-based platforms, new and unforeseen vulnerabilities may emerge.

Moreover, as Internet becomes ubiquitous for all business and personal communications, the sensitivity and economic value of the content of information transmitted is highly increasing (Shoniregun, Chochliouros, Laperche, Logvynovskiy, & Spiliopoulou, 2004). The economic damage caused by network and/or service disruptions is becoming larger. Unfortunately, due to the transnational and borderless character of modern information systems, it is possible to launch an attack from anywhere in the world, to any place, at any time. This constitutes a severe threat (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2001) to the achievement of a safer information society and to an area of freedom and security, and therefore requires a “proper” and immediate response at the level of the European Union (EU). In particular, the economic burden imposed by various illegal actions on public bodies, companies, and individuals is considerable and threatens to make information systems more costly and less affordable to all potential users. Therefore, as so much depends on networks and information systems, their secure functioning has nowadays become a key concern, especially for the smooth operation of both internal EU market and society (European Commission, 2001).

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Virpi Kristiina Tuunainen
Ada Scupola
Chapter 1
Anders Henten
This chapter examines the provision and codevelopment of electronic services, content, and applications at the conceptual level. There is focus on... Sample PDF
Services, E-Services, and Nonservices
Chapter 2
Ioannis P. Chochliouros
The European Authorities have promoted a specific and innovative framework for the use of electronic signatures, allowing the free flow of... Sample PDF
Developing Measures and Standards for the European Electronic Signatures Market
Chapter 3
Flavio Corradini
The quality assessment of e-government services is more and more emerging as a key issue within public administrations. Ensuring a proper quality of... Sample PDF
Quality Assessment of Digital Services in E-Government with a Case Study in an Italian Region
Chapter 4
Calin Gurau
The evolution of information technology applications has changed the landscape of the service industry, offering the possibility of customer... Sample PDF
Self-Service Systems: Quality Dimensions and Users' Profiles
Chapter 5
Carlos Flavián Blanco
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Online Journalistic Services: Are Digital Newspapers Complementary to Traditional Press?
Chapter 6
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Benita M. Gullkvist
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Chapter 8
Aki Ahonen, Jarno Salonen, Raija Järvinen, Jouni Kivistö-Rahnasto
The chapter introduces an innovative organizational logic for developing and designing electronic services especially in the context of financial... Sample PDF
eInsurance: Developing Customer-Friendly Electronic Insurance Services from the Novel Project Perspective
Chapter 9
Zhongxian Wang, James Yao, Ruiliang Yan, Jeffrey Hsu
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eBay: An E-Titan Success Story
Chapter 10
Hanne Westh Nicolajsen
In this chapter we analyse organizational challenges when an engineering consultancy in the building industry integrates information and... Sample PDF
Limitations and Perspectives on Use of E-Services in Engineering Consulting
Chapter 11
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The Role of E-Services in the Transition from the Product Focus to the Service Focus in the Printing Business: Case Lexmark
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Alexander Yap
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Evolution of Online Financial Trading Systems: E-Service Innovations in the Brokerage Sector
Chapter 13
Simon Heilesen
Examining electronic services both as products and as organization, this chapter discusses the development and management of e-services at Roskilde... Sample PDF
The Case of Roskilde University E-Services
Chapter 14
Ada Scupola
This chapter reports the findings of a case study of e-services adoption at research libraries. The case under consideration is Roskilde University... Sample PDF
E-Services in Danish Research Libraries: Issues and Challenges at Roskilde University Library
Chapter 15
Tommaso Federici
This chapter deals with the introduction of electronic procurement in the public healthcare domain. After a brief discussion on the healthcare... Sample PDF
Introducing E-Procurement in a Local Healthcare Agency
Chapter 16
Shashi Bhushan Gogia
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