How do I successfully implement the digital signature in my corporate documents?

May 2, 2023

Author: Ana Domínguez

Currently, the digital signature has become a great tool to formalize and sign documents in digital format. As a result of this, many companies join the trend of reducing the use of physical papers and mostly managing their documents digitally.

Difference between digital signature and electronic signature
Law No. 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signature (see article 2.i)) establishes that the digital signature is “a numerical value that is attached to a data message and that, using a known mathematical procedure, linked to the key launcher and the text of the message, makes it possible to determine that this value has been obtained exclusively with the key launcher and the text of the message, and that the initial message has not been modified after the transmission.”

Regarding the electronic signature, according to the Regulation of Application of Law No. 126-02 (see article 1.17), it is understood that it is the “set of integrated electronic data, linked or logically associated to other electronic data, which by agreement between the parties is used as a means of identification between the sender and the recipient of a data message or a digital document and that lacks any of the legal requirements to be considered a digital signature.

We emphasize that Resolution No. 071-19 issued by the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (INDOTEL), considers that the digital signature is equivalent to the advanced electronic signature and that the secure digital signature is equivalent to the qualified electronic signature.

Types of electronic signatures
There are three types of electronic signatures in the Dominican Republic:

-Simple electronic signature: it lacks legal requirements to consider it as a digital signature.

-Advanced electronic signature: defined in article 7 of Resolution No. 071-19.

-Qualified electronic signature: defined in article 6.q) of Resolution No. 071-19.

According to Resolution No. 071-19 issued by INDOTEL, the qualified electronic signature is considered a secure digital signature and is equivalent to the traditional handwritten signature.

In addition, the qualified electronic signature (or secure digital signature) is the only one that is created by means of a qualified electronic signature creation device. Furthermore, said signature is based on a qualified certificate of electronic signature – which is issued by a certification entity – and, validated by the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (INDOTEL); which guarantees a higher level of security.

What is a certification entity?
Law No. 126-02 (see article 2.k)) defines the certification entity as the authorized institution or legal person, which is empowered to issue certificates in relation to the digital signatures of people, offer or facilitate the registration services, chronological stamping of the transmission and reception of data messages, as well as fulfilling other functions related to communications based on digital signatures.

In the Dominican Republic, INDOTEL approved and validated several certification entities, including the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo, AVANSI SRL, and the Government Office of Information and Communication Technologies (OGTIC).

How do I request a qualified electronic signature certificate?
The qualified electronic signature certificate is a data file that is attached to the electronic document to be signed and that allows the person who is signing said electronic document to be identified.

To request this certificate, you must meet the requirements of the certifying entity and, after they validate your file, said entity will verify the applicant’s identity as a natural person and/or as a representative of a legal entity.

After completing the validation process, the certification authority will create the necessary keys with the appropriate devices and generate the digital signature certificate.

Types of digital signatures
The Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production (CCPSD) establishes the following types of digital signature certificates:

-Certificate of digital signature for natural person.

-Certificate of digital signature for a natural person with institutional or governmental responsibility.

-Certificate of digital signature for a natural person with an institutional or governmental link.

-Certificate of digital signature for a natural person in tax procedures.

-Certificate of institutional digital signature of QSCD electronic seal.

After identifying the type of digital signature that meets the needs of your company or institution, the Chamber will exhaust the due process to issue your digital signature certificate.

Register your corporate documents with digital signature at the CCPSD
When the process of obtaining and registering your digital signature is complete, you can use it to digitally sign your company’s corporate documents.

Currently in the Dominican Republic, only the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production registers digitally signed corporate documents. For this purpose, the Chamber requires that the document to be registered be sent via email and that said document be fully signed with digital signatures, that is, a document cannot contain physical signatures and digital signatures.

Once validated by the Chamber, they will issue the registration authorization and you must make the payment in person when they give you the copy of the registered document.

Guarantee your legal protection, with this digital tool
The digital signature is an optimal way to streamline your company’s processes, reduce costs and increase your legal protection, in accordance with the requirements of the Dominican legal system.

However, this digital tool is still in development in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, we recommend that your company obtain professional advice, to guarantee the successful implementation of the digital signature in your corporate documents; in accordance with the Dominican legal framework and the requirements of authorized institutions.