Technical Committee (TC) Electronic Signatures and Infrastructures (ESI) Activity Report 2021

Chair: Riccardo Genghini, eWitness SA

Developing standards for electronic signatures and trust services to protect electronic transactions and ensure trust with business partners.

The activities of ETSI’s committee on Electronic Signatures and Infrastructures (TC ESI) address the requirements of digital signatures, including formats and procedures and policies for creation and validation, as well as trust service supporting the authenticity of transactions. The committee’s scope covers policy, security, and technical requirements for trust service providers (TSPs) such as certification authorities, time-stamping authorities, TSPs providing remote signature creation or validation functions, registered e-delivery providers, and long-term data preservation providers. The committee’s work supports the eIDAS (electronic ID, authentication, and signature) regulation as well as general requirements of the international community to provide confidence in electronic transactions.

In 2021 committee’s activities notably included:

  • Publication of Technical Specification TS 119 182-1 - JAdES digital signatures; Part 1: Building blocks and JAdES baseline signatures – specifying digital signatures supported by PKI and public key certificates to authenticate the origin of transactions. Developed in close cooperation with Open Banking Europe, this standard represents a landmark for interoperability of digital signatures for a range of applications in today's digital economy. Publication was accompanied by a successful Plugtests™ event held during November and December to test interoperability between implementations of the new standard.
  • Publication of TS 119 461 for identity proofing to verify claimed identities at registration on trusted services such as signing certificates, electronic identities – and, potentially, banking services – following feedback from public review.
  • Publication of TS 119 615 and TS 119 472-4 on the use of European Union Member States national trusted lists.
  • Publication of TS 119 192 - Uniform Resource Identifiers used within the AdES series of standards for recommended advanced electronic signature / seal formats.
  • Publication of TS 119 132-3 - XAdES digital signatures; Part 3: Incorporation of Evidence Record Syntax (ERS) mechanisms in XAdES.

This was accompanied by maintenance of existing Harmonised Standards and other deliverables, including:

  • EN 319 132-1 on XML Advanced Electronic Signatures/Seals (XAdES)
  • EN 319 122-1CMS (RFC 5652) based Advanced Electronic Signatures/Seals (CAdES)
  • EN 319 102-1 on procedures for creation and validation of AdES Digital Signatures
  • TS 119 312 on cryptographic suites for electronic signatures and trust services
  • TS 119 495 for certificate policies and profiles for payment services to support internationalisation
  • Signature policy requirements for Qualified Website Authentication Certificates in EN 319 411-2 and associated certificate profile in EN 319 412-4.

See the full list of TC ESI publications in 2021 here.

During the year TC ESI identified possible standardization requirements in support of proposed revision to the Regulation 9210/2014 on electronic identification and trust services. Work accordingly commenced on three most urgent activities: Attribute Attestation Profiles; Policy and Security Requirements for issuing Attribute Attestations; and EU Digital ID Wallet interfaces with trust service providers.

The committee also liaised on PKI related trusted services with other regional bodies including:

  • CA/Browser Forum
  • Asia PKI
  • PKI Consortium
  • Arab ICT Organisation
  • SafeBiopharma
  • Japan Network Security Association

In June TC ESI hosted a successful virtual training day on its standards on trust services and their use. Sessions included an overview of ETSI TSP standards and other trust application standards; signature formats and verification; standards for TSPs issuing certificates; TSP supervision; certification and audit; identity proofing; remote signing and trusted lists.

Ongoing activities in 2022 are scheduled to include:

  • Further maintenance on existing standards including:
    • EN 319 411-1 on Policies for Trust service providers issuing certificates
    • EN 319 412-1/2 on certificate profiles
    • EN 319 421 on Policy and Security Requirements for Trust Service Providers issuing Electronic Time-Stamps
    • EN 319 102-1 on procedures for creation and validation of AdES Digital Signatures
  • Publication of TS 119 322 on schema for machine-readable cryptographic algorithm catalogues.
  • Development of multipart document on extended validation procedures for AdES signatures.
  • Further work on EN 319 532 standards for registered email, including support of CEN standardisation of registered email for postal services.
  • Joint workshop with ENISA on identity proofing (with reference to TS 119 461).
  • Continued standardization activities in support of proposed revision to the Regulation 9210/2014 on electronic identification and trust services.
  • Investigation into the implications of distributed ledger technologies as a trust service, and in support of electronic identity and signature service.

See the full list of TC ESI Work Items currently in development here.

A further overview of the committee’s activities – including all published standards and reports is available here.