The electronic signature in Dominican Republic

The development of the digital signature is part of the ambitious project of the República Digital, which “seeks to guarantee access to information and communication technologies for Dominicans, helping to close the digital divide and providing better services to the public.

The Dominican rule that regulates the digital signature is Law 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, of August 14, 2002, and its Implementing Regulations (Law on Electronic Commerce), where the law is considered as:

…a significant milestone for the insertion of the Dominican Republic in the information society, as competitive agent of the productive sector, of modernization of public institutions and of socialization of information through universal access to the telecommunications services involved in these exchanges, such as the telephone and the Internet.

According to article 2 literal 1) of this law the Digital Signature is:

The numerical value that is attached to a data message and that, using a known mathematical procedure, linked to the originator’s key and the text of the message, allows to determine that this value has been obtained exclusively from both the originator’s key and the text of the message, and that the initial message has not been modified after being sent.

According to literal I, Digital Certificate is:

The digital document issued and digitally signed by a Certification Authority, which is capable of identifying a subscriber during the term of validity of the certificate, showing that the subscriber is the source or originator of the content of a digital document or data message that includes his certificate.

Article 6 puts the physical administrative document requiring signature on the level as the digital document:

“Where any rule requires the presence of a signature or states certain consequences in the absence of a signature, such requirement shall be deemed to be satisfied with a Digital Document or Data Message, if the latter has been digitally signed and the digital signature meets the validity requirements laid down in this Act.

The digital signature is also equivalent to a handwritten signature, provided that it meets all the requirements set out in Article 31 of the law, i.e:

  • It is unique to the signatory
  • Under the signatory’s sole control
  • It is linked to the information, digital document or message, so that if these are changed, the digital signature is considered invalid, and
  • It shall support the regulations adopted by the Executive Branch.

Articles 33 and 34 of the above-mentioned law provide that when one or more digital signatures have been affixed to a data message or a digital document, it is presumed that the signatory parties intended to credit that data message or digital document and to be linked to the content, thus making any type of digital contract possible, provided that conditions are met.

Decree No. 335-03 on law enforcement, differentiates the Digital Signature from the Electronic Signature defined as:

An electronic dataset integrated, linked or logically associated to other electronic data, used by agreement between the parties as a mean to identify the recipient and sender of a data message or a digital document and which does not meet any of the legal requirements to be considered a digital signature. (Article 1.17).”

In the Dominican Republic, contracts using electronic means may use an electronic or digital signature, which allows to identify and link a person to the creation of a data message, an act or a contract and which has his or her approval.

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How to obtain a Digital Signature certificate?

Certificate authorities, issuers of digital certificates

The regulatory body is the The Instituto Dominicano De Telecomunicaciones (INDOTEL), which has the authority to authorize the issuance of digital signature certification services by a Certificate Authority (CA)

The first Certificate Authority that was established and approved by Indotel for the Dominican Republic was the company AVANSI, on September 28, 2006 (Resolution Nº 166-06).

As Issuing Authority, Avansi is authorized to provide the following services related to the digital signature:

Issuing, administration, registry and storage of digital certificates.

  • Registration authority services:
    • Checking the identity or other information of the applicants considered relevant to the identity verification procedures
    • Registration of the filings and the procedures that are formulated to them.
    • Delegation of operations to other Registration authorities.
    • Other services or activities related to the Registration Authority to be determined by INDOTEL.

Avansi has set up five Registration Authorities with the authorization of Indotel: General Directorate of Internal Taxes, Optic, Banreservas, General Directorate of Customs and the Attorney General’s Office

Summary of current legislation on digital signatures

Laws

  • Ley No. 126-02 (14 August 2002)
    • E-commerce, Documents and Digital Signature

Decrees

Outstanding resolutions

  • Resolution No. 041-13 (6 June 2013)
    • Use of Data Messages, Documents and Digital Signatures in Electronic Payments
  • Resolution No. 135-09 (21 December 2009)
    • Complementary regulation to the law on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, No. 126-02, for the Integration of the Real Estate Jurisdiction in the National Digital Signature Infrastructure
  • Resolution No. 033-07 (28 February 2007)
    • Complementary regulation to Ley 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, related to electronic means of payment.
  • Resolution No. 142-06 (3 August 2006)
    • Complementary regulation to Ley 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, related to the Protection of Consumer and User Rights.
  • Resolution No. 026-06
    • Additional rule of Ley No. 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, concerning determination of time in electronic means and on the Internet.
  • Resolution No. 010-04 (30 January 2004)
    • Additional rule of Ley No. 126-02 and its regulations.

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