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Government wants to recognise electronic signatures

Moves are underway to grant every citizen a numerical identity

(Keystone Archive)

Electronic signatures could soon have the same legal status in Switzerland as the handwritten variety. The government has presented a draft law to parliament in a bid to facilitate e-commerce.

The justice ministry said on Friday the bill was aimed at recognising the validity of computer-generated signatures if safety standards are guaranteed. The signatures are to be provided by certified private operators.

Under the proposed new law, the certified operators have to be able to ensure the authenticity of an e-signature. The system is based of two identical codes: a private and a public key for every citizen.

The technology would also make it possible to check whether a document has been changed after it was signed.

The ministry said the aim of the new law was to make business transactions over the Internet and with electronic mail easier and to pave the way for speed up data transfer from the land registry to the trade registry.

The government is evaluating proposals to improve consumer protection to accommodate the potential changes.

Moves are also underway to grant every citizen a numerical identity, so that transactions can be conducted electronically with the authorities. This would facilitate access to public services, the so called e-government.

swissinfo with agencies


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