Argentina and Uruguay ratified agreement on the use of digital signature

Bruchou & Funes de Rioja - September 27, 2021
Argentina and Uruguay ratified the Mercosur agreement on mutual recognition of digital signature certificates that came into force on August 12,2021.

Thus, Argentine and Uruguayan individuals will be able to validate their respective digital signature certificates with counterparts in these countries and carry out transactions completely digitally.

Argentinian and Uruguayan individuals will be able to validate their certificates before counterparts in these countries and carry out transactions completely digitally.

The digital and electronic signature regime in Argentina is mainly regulated by the Digital Signature Law No. 25.506 and Regulatory Decree No. 182/2019.

The law specifically provides the equivalence of the digital signature to the handwritten signature, expressly determining that in those cases where the law provides for a handwritten signature, that requirement will also be satisfied by a digital signature (Section 3). This precept was later taken up by the Argentinian Civil and Commercial Code.

The digital signature has two legal presumptions: authorship and integrity. In consequence, if someone challenges a document signed digitally will have to prove the possible falsehood of the signature and/or the content or integrity of the document.

To use a digital signature, it is a requirement to have a digital certificate (a digital document that attests the link with the individual signing). Digital certificates are issued by Licensed Certifiers authorised as such by the Licensing Body.

On the other hand, the law also provides the concept of electronic signature (Section 5). Unlike digital signatures, the law establishes that electronic signatures do not enjoy the presumptions of authorship and integrity. Therefore, if the signature is not known, the burden of proof will fall on the person who invokes its validity.

Furthermore, to provide a higher level of security to electronic signatures, are often implemented platforms or software systems that allow communications between the parties to be signed electronically. Also, contractual measures are adopted whereby the parties expressly consent to and recognise the evidentiary validity of communications exchanged by this means.

Summarising, both signature mechanisms are valid and have the same practical benefits. Mainly, the streamlining and simplification of the signature process and the reduction of the use of paper. However, in terms of legal certainty, the digital signature is the only one that can be equated to the handwritten signature.

Signature validation

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Pardo, Dámaso A.

Intellectual Property, Privacy, New Technologies and Legal Advertising
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The authors appreciate the collaboration of

Raffinetti, Franco.