The e-Signature in Algeria

The business practice across the world witnessed a transformation that affected mainly the electronic transactions.

 Hence, electronic signature was adopted by many companies worldwide, since it is considered the best and safest tool to secure documents online: In fact it is widely used mainly for multinational business-to-business sales contracts, non-disclosure agreements, video conference electronic attendance sheet for general assembly et cetera. 

On that regard, Algerian legislation established procedures for the recognition of the e-Signature, where a third party called “the provider” is responsible for its identification and authenticity, but also established heavy sanctions (imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine up to 200.000 DA) for the provider in case of the absence of the required authorisation.

 More so, the subscribers are sanctions with the same sanctions in case of false statements to obtain the certificate. 

Therefore, economic operators should strictly follow procedures and refer to authorised parties to ensure the safety of their e-Signatures.

What is e-Signature according the Algerian Law ?

Handwritten signature can only be useful and safe to a certain extent nowadays. 

Article 323 ter of the Algerian civil code provides that the e-Signature is legally bidding in an equivalent way as handwritten one. 

In fact, the e-Signature is a collection of data in an electronic form joined or logically linked to other electronic data, for the purpose of authentication of documents online. 

It can take many forms, including digital signature, biometric signature, and electronic pen signature. 

The article mentioned above set specific conditions and requirements that must be met in e-Signature, for example its strict association with the platform, the fact that the owner of the signature has complete control over it, and this signature cannot be modified nor changed.

Under these conditions, the e-Signature is accepted as evidence in the same way as a traditional one.

How is the certification of the e-Signature done according to the law 15-04 ?

The law 15-04 concerning the electronic signature and certification established a set of procedures to ensure the authenticity of the e-Signature.

 The e-Signature of digital or paper documents requires a third party whose main function is to create a secure electronic transaction platform, and play the role of a trusted broker between the owners of the signatures, confirming the identity of the parties and determining their eligibility to sign.

In addition, it ensures the integrity of the data circulating, and this process is defined as electronic certification. 

The provider of such platform is required to obtain an authorisation to do so from the Economic Authority for Electronic Certification established under the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, any provider lacking such authorisation can be sanctioned pursuant to the aforementioned law.

This Authority has the duty to publish a list containing the authorised providers.

The provider is required to release to the subscriber a certificate attesting the digital signature.

Therefore, the economic operators should strictly deal with providers approved by the concerned authority and present in the mentioned list but; also, they should obtain and store the certificate proving the authenticity of the document.

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