Electronic signature means data in electronic form which serve as authentication method; they are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data.
An electronic signature can be used for identifying the signatory of an electronic legal act.
Legally, an electronic signature may not be refused as regards its legal efficiency . It is also admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.
It will however only be recognized equivalent to the handwritten signature when it satisfies those requirements in relation to technical safety. In this case, an electronic signature is said to be qualified.
The FPS Economy can, at any time, carry out an unexpected control at a certification-service- provider who issues qualified certificates. These controls are carried out in particular following a complaint or a suspicion of non-conformity compared to the requirements of the law.
Controls are organized according to the royal decree of December 6th, 2002 (arrêté royal du 6 décembre 2002) (only in French) organizing the control and the accreditation of certification-service-providers which issue qualified certificates.
A control aims to check a posteriori conformity of the offered service, or of a part of it, with the legal requirements.
The control task entrusted to the FPS Economy only concerns the certification-service-providers established in Belgium and issuing qualified certificates to the public.
Accreditation only concerns the certification-service-provider, it is done on a voluntary basis and gives no legal surplus value to the provided service.
Accreditation has to be considered as the a priori demonstration of the conformity of the entire service offered by the provider.
BE.SIGN is the Belgian Accreditation System for the certification-service-providers who issue qualified certificates regarding electronic signature. It has been set up by the royal decree of December 6th, 2002 (arrêté royal du 6 décembre 2002) (only in French) organizing the control and the accreditation of certification-service-providers which issue qualified certificates. This decree has been taken in compliance with the Law of July, 9th , 2001 (loi du 9 juillet 2001) (only in French) laying down some rules in relation to the legal framework for electronic signatures and certification services.
The application for accreditation has to be made with the form (format Word (DOC, 75 Kb) or Pdf (PDF, 102.54 Kb)) (only in French) created by the Directorate-General for Quality and Safety of the FPS Economy. It must be submitted to the Department Electronic Certification.
This application must be dated and signed, whether it is in handwritten or electronic form. The electronic signature must fulfill the requirements of article 4, § 4 of the law.
Every three months a trusted list is published in accordance with the:
Commission Decision of 28 July 2010 amending Decision 2009/767/EC as regards the establishment, maintenance and publication of trusted lists of certification service providers supervised or accredited by Member States.
- FAQ – electronic signature (PDF, 37.01 Kb)
- The royal decree of December 6th, 2002 organizing the control and the accreditation of the certification-service-providers which issue qualified certificates (MB17/01/2003).
- Directive 1999/93/CE on a Community framework for electronic signatures
- Law of October 20, 2000 introducing the use of means of télécommunication and electronic signature in judicial and extra-judicial procedure
- Law of July 9th, 2001 laying down some rules in relation to the legal framework for electronic signatures and certification services.