E-signatures to be introduced in Cyprus
At the end of 2017 and from now on, citizens in Cyprus will be able to use electronic signatures (e-signatures) while doing business with the public sector as well as a number of private companies, reports said on Wednesday.
It is estimated that the introduction of the e-signature will bring significant reductions in administrative costs in the public sector and will simplify complex transactions which otherwise require a great deal of paperwork and bureaucratic procedure.
The electronic signatures, which replace handwritten signatures, will pave the way in processing secure electronic transactions that currently require both handwritten signature and the physical presence of the individual.
It is estimated that by the end of the year the tender documents relating to e-signatures will have be ready. An assigned company will do the work and provide the electronic signatures and authentication certificates.
Cyprus has existing legislation that allows for the use of e-signatures, however discussions have been taking place for many years as to the provider of the electronic signatures and related certificates. The Undersecretary to the President and his associates have, however, sped up the process and achieved a conclusion to what has previously been characterised as a never-ending discussion.
Decisions were also taken for more electronic services that will enable the use of e-signatures by the citizens of Cyprus.
How does the e-signature work?
Each service will make the appropriate modifications to its system to accept electronic signatures. When members of the public submit an application, for example to the Land Registry, a token which acts as a key store the electronic signature, allowing people to sign and submit their application electronically. This token could be a separate card, a sim card, a USB, or a cloud application.
The whole process is simple and convenient, and will resemble a money transfer as in bank transactions which use a digi-pass.
Online applications with the use of e-signature include, inter alia, the application for GMI (Guaranteed Minimum Income), application for child allowance and single parent and the application for criminal record certificate.