Electronic certificates can be used to sign documents electronically. A fully qualified electronic signature has the same validity as a traditional handwritten signature. For an electronic signature to be considered valid, it must be supported by a fully qualified certificate created with a secure signature-creation device.
With the introduction of Act 28/2001 on electronic signatures , the legal requirements of the European Parliament and Council Directive 1999/93/EB on a Community framework for electronic signatures were fulfilled. The aim of the Directive was to harmonize the rules within the Alliance on the use of electronic signatures in light of the increased volume of electronic trading. The law defines the legality of electronic signatures, and the requirements for certificates, signature creation devices and certification service providers.
The Consumer Agency is the supervisory authority which monitors the activities of certification service providers to ensure that they meet all requirements of the law on electronic signatures and regulation nr 780/2011. Certificates issued in Iceland which meet the requirements of the Act are also valid in other countries in the European Economic Area.
The Consumer Agency is in cooperation with regulatory authorities for electronic signatures in other countries and is a founding member of FESA, the Forum of European Supervisory Authorities for Electronic Signatures - see http://www.fesa.eu/index.html.