Digital signature for the registration of newborns in Spain

Today, I would like to share this blog post of my colleague, the  REALSEC’s CEO, that deals with the creation of the digital civil registry in Spain for the newborns.
This action is an importan item inside spanish e-government and its Digital Agenda.
Speed, efectiveness and reliability for a process that joins the Spanish Electronic Administration.

The development of the Spanish Electronic Administration, being one of the main targets of the Spanish Digital Agenda, is carrying on its evolution. Since the beginning of this current year 2015, we are updated with news about its development and progress in the country, as in the recent Regulation of the Ministry of Justice that instructs the Registry Offices about the electronic notification of births from health centers.

After the publication in the BOE, by the Ministry of Justice, regarding the instruction of the State Registry and Notary Offices about electronic communication of births from health centers, it was on October 15 when the new law came into force comprising part of the actions listed in the Law 19/2015, of 13 July, of administrative reform measures in the field of Justice Administration and Civil Registry with the aim of allowing the administrative staff in hospitals to process the registration of birth certificates online within a maximum period of 72 hours.
Undoubtedly, this is an improvement in terms of speed, veracity and in terms of saving time and cost as well, both for the Administration and the relatives who are responsible for these procedures (an option more comfortable and faster than the actual travelling of the parents to the Civil Registry Office for the registration of children in the Family Book).
Twenty-four Spanish hospitals, belonging to different Autonomous Communities of the country, will be the first ones to implement this new law. This recent instruction sets the way of the course procedure of the health centers, pioneers in sending through a telematic way, the required documents to the Registry Office in the case of births.
For this registration process of newborn babies, the hospital will accompany the relevant form with the data of the baby and of his/her parents. Therefore, sealed digital through advanced digital signature mechanisms will be used to ensure the authenticity and integrity of transmitted data.
The instruction collects the paper to develop by every actor: from parents, the health center, the Civil Registry Office as well as the processes to be considered as the discharge of the health centers in the application for the proceedings of notifications from these centers, the documentation to be submitted to the Civil Registry Offices and the operations that these entities must carry out as well as the forms to be used.

Advanced Electronic Signature vs. Digital Signature

It is in this stage where the digital signature of the documentation is necessary to provide it with legal validity and where the questions arise.
According to some news, initially, physicians can sign this documentation in with a handwritten signature, which could later be scanned and sent online, but then, this is a digitized signature and not an advanced electronic signature or secure digital signature with guarantees of authenticity, integrity and legal validity of the signer and the signed document.
I have talked about these differences and the scope of different types of signature: digitized, electronic and advanced digital or electronic in previous posts, which can be read HERE.
Therefore, I wonder when this advanced and trusted electronic signature can be used? Are the differences and advantages of the secure digital signature based on a HSM Hardware Security Module known?
Spain has been an advanced country in digital signature law, equating its validity to the handwritten signature, although lawmakers have called this law, Electronic Signature Law (Law 59/2003) but however defines the concept of digital signature as: “set of data, in electronic form, outside other electronic data or functionally associated with them, used as a means to formally identify the author or authors of the document that contains it”.
Summing up, we must act as an entity and demand as a user of digital signature, a signature that operates in secure environments and offers reliability and that is none other than the signature based on an integrated cryptographic server (hardware and software) and supported by a digital certificate.
This digital certificate, issued by an accredited certification entity, acts as a container for electronic data that identifies and authenticates the signer through the allocation of a public key and a private key based on the parameters of the asymmetric cryptography. In addition, it gives integrity to the signed document and identifies their source.
All these, avoids manipulation attempts and/or fraud that may arise, therefore, creating secure signature environments.
Finally, to achieve optimum performance of the digital registry of the birth certificates in Spain, the online management is essential and urgent through this reliable and secure digital signature model and leave behind unsecure models as the scanned firm, easy to handle and without any strict legal value.

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