Author: Ingolf Rauh

Swisscom becomes issuer of an EU (eIDAS) qualified time stamp

Everyone knows it from signing a contract: In addition to the handwritten signature, you will add the “date of signature.” In the digital world, it is the same. There is the electronic signature with a signature certificate, but there is also the electronic time, which was created with a time stamp certificate. If this time is missing, the “computer time” is often used for PDF documents. The Adobe PDF Reader, for example, indicates in signatures whether it is the computer's time or a so-called “embedded time stamp.” The computer's time has the disadvantage that it could be used, for example, to pre-date or backdate contracts and thus falsify facts.

For this purpose, the EU eIDAS Regulation provides the qualified time stamp. The issuers of these qualified timestamps are recognized trust service providers who ensure the correct time and thus also the trustworthiness of such a time stamp. Together with the qualified electronic signature, this provides a piece of evidence with the highest legal probative value.

Swisscom IT Services Finance S.E., as a trust service provider in Vienna, has now received this trust status and thus, the time stamps that have always been provided as part of the signature are considered “qualified.” Therefore, you can now find Swisscom IT Services Finance S.E. on the European Trust List.

What is notable here is that for the first time, a pan-European time stamp is being issued, which carries the status “qualified” not only in the EU or eIDAS legal area but also in Switzerland within the framework of the signature law ZertES. The almost identical ETSI regulations for ZertES (Switzerland) and eIDAS (EU) make this possible. Swisscom Trust Services provides this time stamp for all signature solutions alone or in combination with Swiss signatures/seals or EU signatures/seals.

Time stamps are also the most cost-effective way of electronically sealing documents and thus preparing them for archiving, for example. It is ensured that once a record has been time-stamped, it can no longer be changed. This process can also be automated in the background; additional personal authentication is unnecessary.

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