Estonia’s digital signature system has paved the way for some of its most useful e-services including Company Registration Portal, the nation’s groundbreaking i-voting system, electronic tax filing and ID-software – essentially any services that require signatures for their validity.
Because e-Estonia’s infrastructure is an open system, new services can always be integrated. Businesses can freely use the digital signature system as well, and have applied it to a variety of web-based services.
Estonia boasts one of the world’s most advanced digital signature systems thanks to two crucial developments:
– In March 2000, Parliament passed a law giving electronic signatures the same legal weight as traditional paper signatures.
– The nation’s groundbreaking electronic ID infrastructure has created an effective and universal system for secure identification.
When a website offers the digital signature option:
– The user has entered the information to be signed (tax declaration, ballot choices, contracts, etc.).
– The site asks the user if they would like to digitally sign the information.
– If the user clicks ‘yes’, a window from a third-party Certificate Center pops up, asking for the PIN codes connected to the user’s electronic ID Card.
– The Certificate Center verifies the codes and sends a confirmation back to the website.
ID-software is a widely-used software that allows you to use your ID-card electronically – use private and governmental e-services, digitally sign documents and encrypt documents for safe transfer.
3 programs are installed into your computer: ID-card utility, DigiDoc3 client and DigiDoc3 crypto.
With ID-card utility you can check the functioning of your ID-card and certificate validity, change PIN and PUK codes.
DigiDoc3 Client is a programme that can be used to sign digitally with ID-card and Mobile-ID, check the validity of digital signatures and open and save documents inside the signature container.
DigiDoc3 Crypto enables you to secure files for safe transfer using your ID-card and to view secured documents (decrypt). Securing or encrypting enables you to protect sensitive information from other people in the short term.