The electronic certification services are regulated in the Bulgarian lawNew legislative changes have been adopted in relation to the Bulgarian Electronic Document And Electronic Signature Act. The promulgated on 24th October 2017 amendments foresees certain measures for the implementation of REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC. The aim is to harmonize national legislation with the European requirements.

Pursuant to the amendments the name of the act is changed to “Electronic Document And Electronic Certification Services Act”. Certain changes of legal definitions have been made as well:
- Electronic document is pursuant to Art. 3, p. 35 of the Regulation - any content stored in electronic form, in particular text or sound, visual or audiovisual recording;
- Electronic signature is pursuant to Art. 3, p. 10 of the Regulation - data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign;
- Advanced electronic signature is pursuant to Art. 3, p. 11 in relation to Art. 26 of the Regulation - an electronic signature which meets these requirements:
a) is uniquely linked to the signatory;
b) is capable of identifying the signatory;
c) is created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his sole control; and
d) is linked to the data signed therewith in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable;
- Qualified electronic signature is pursuant to Art. 3, p. 12 of the Regulation - an advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures;
- Electronic Certification Service (ECS) is pursuant to Art. 3, p. 16 of the Regulation - an electronic service normally provided for remuneration which consists of:
1) the creation, verification, and validation of electronic signatures, electronic seals or electronic time stamps, electronic registered delivery services and certificates related to those services, or
2) the creation, verification and validation of certificates for website authentication; or
3) the preservation of electronic signatures, seals or certificates related to those services;
- Electronic Certification Service Provider is a natural or a legal person who provides one or more trust services either as a qualified or as a non-qualified trust service provider.

The new amendments foresees the conformity of the qualified electronic signature and stamp creation devices with the requirements of Annex II of the Regulation to be certified by organizations accredited by the Executive Agency "Bulgarian Accreditation Service" (BAS) or by other entities pursuant to Art. 30, p. 1 of the Regulation. BAS is obliged to keep a public registry of the accredited organizations, as well as to publish on its website a list of the certified by them electronic signature and stamp creation devices. The Agency shall notify the European commission regarding the names and addresses of the public or private bodies, accredited it to certify the conformity of the qualified electronic signature and stamp creation devices with the requirements of the Regulation. In addition, the legislator provides for the Agency to notify to Commission without undue delay and no later than one month after the certification is concluded, information on qualified electronic signature creation devices that have been certified by the accredited bodies. They shall also notify to the Commission, without undue delay and no later than one month after the certification is cancelled, information on electronic signature creation devices that are no longer certified.

The legislator limits the access of persons, different from the respective holder or creator, to:
- Data, regarding the creation of electronic signature, stamps or time stamps;
- Data, regarding the authenticity of a website; and
- Data, regarding electronic registered mail.

Pursuant to the provision of Art. 18a, which is also new to the Act, the person, appointed as the holder of the electronic signature, creator of the electronic stamp and transmitter of data with electronic registered mail, cannot dispute the authorship, holding, creation and transmission to the addressee/recipient, in cases when the electronic document created by the person is:
- Sent via an information system, intended for automatic use, or
- Created by a person who has access to the identification method.

Vassil Kostov

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