The qualified “electronic signature” is one of the core components at the heart of Austria's eGovernment approach. The purpose this component serves can be explained quite easily. Many application forms require a signature from the person filling it out, which until now had to be signed on paper. With the changeover to electronic services, authenticating the signature has to be carried out electronically.
Therefore, there needs to be a method for adding a signature electronically to a document that provides adequate security, yet is still easy enough to use.
An electronic signature is not just a signature on paper that has been scanned in. It is a mathematical algorithm that is carried out by the sender and recipient, each of which has their own "signature key". Together, these two keys form a unique pair of keys. The following aspects are important for electronic signatures:
- Authenticity: The message really comes from the given sender and the sender can be uniquely identified.
- Integrity: Manipulation of the signature or the signed document can be detected immediately.
With the invention of the mobile phone signature or card-based citizen card (e.g. on the e-card), simple to use, free tools were created to sign legally binding documents, invoices and contracts electronically with just a few clicks of the mouse. It is possible to add an electronic signature to PDF documents quickly and securely, which is the legal equivalent of a handwritten signature. The authenticity of the signature and genuineness of the transmitted data can be verified at any time by the sender or recipient.
The most well-known uses of digital signatures include:
- electronic public administration procedures,
- legally valid signing of contracts,
- public contract bids,
- Internet banking,
- "e-Billing", i.e. invoices are submitted electronically
- and much more.
The Website of the citizen card contains well-structured, easy to understand information about the mobile phone signature and card-based citizen card (e.g. on the e-card) and the many ways it can be used. The Website can be used to sign PDF documents using the mobile phone signature or card-based citizen card online, as well as check signed PDF documents.