COVID19: e-signatures will usher ‘small revolution’

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Belatedly Introducing the e-signature in Cyprus will bring about a “small revolution” in people’s transactions with the public sector, a need highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Minister of Innovation Kyriacos Kokkinos told CNA the government will soon announce the possibility of using an e-signature in cooperation with the association of Cyprus banks.

“This will bring about a huge change for the better, as citizens and businesses will be able to do transactions using the e-signature without having to have a physical presence to sign documents.”

Kokkinos explained that e-signatures will be possible by using licensed service providers who are trustworthy, adding that credit card clearinghouse JCC is one such service provider in Cyprus.

He said legislation establishing the e-signature has been ready since 2018.

“We have completed all necessary technical preparations and we are at the announcement level.”

A person’s e-signature is part of their electronic identity. Through electronic identification, a person will be able to prove their identity without having to be physically present.

Electronic identification needs to have already taken place for the e-signature to be used.

Electronic identification will have to take place either through a person’s bank, if a person is an e-banking user, or they would have to use JCC directly.

Over 60% of citizens have access to e-banking and most of them will be able to get their electronic identification through their bank, Kokkinos said.

Discussions on these issues have been ongoing for over a decade.

“The imperative need which arose due to the coronavirus pushed us to think differently.”