Digital stamps of companies
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Digital Stamps of Companies. Tarvi Martens SK, Estonia. Background. Estonia is a country with fully deployed Public Key Infrastructure (ID-card) allowing: Secure authentication to e-services Digital signing Digital signatures is part of everyday’s life:

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Digital Stamps of Companies

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Digital Stamps of Companies

Tarvi Martens

SK, Estonia


  • Estonia is a country with fully deployed Public Key Infrastructure (ID-card) allowing:

    • Secure authentication to e-services

    • Digital signing

  • Digital signatures is part of everyday’s life:

    • Common Signature System is used in all sectors

    • People share understanding of “what is digitally signed file”

Signature is Personal

  • There is no “company signatures” in the paper

  • Notion of “Qualified Signatures” in digital world refers to digital signature created by physical person

    • “Qualified Signature” == “Advanced Electronic Signature” (Directive 1999/93/EC) created with “Qualified Certificate” (Annex I)

The Problem

  • People are seeking for company dimension in signed documents

    • Is this document signed behalf of a company?

    • How would I know whether the signatory works for this organization?

    • Was the signatory eligible to sign such a document?

Paper World


rubber stamp

claimed role,



Security of paper ?

  • Letterhead

    • Easy to copy, steal etc.

  • Rubber stamp

    • Nobody knows who has access to it in the company

  • Claimed role

    • Hard to verify

      ... but (for some funny reasons) all of this still gives some confidence

Solution for the Digital World

  • Digital Stamps

    • Technically similar to digital signatures

    • Created with certificates issued to organizational entities

    • Stamping Policy refers to digital stamp certificate and is digitally signed by authorized signer





Digital Signature

Digital Stamp

Stamping Policy

  • Describes restrictions for using the stamp:

    • Area of use

    • Type of applicable documents for this stamp

    • Person(s) eligible to stamp

    • Automatic vs manual stamping

    • Whether digital signature is needed in addition to the stamp

    • Security measures taken to protect private key for stamping

    • ...

“Signed and stamped”

Represents official document binded to company


Usually automatically

Creates evidence in automated way



Digital Stamp

Two Basic Types



Digital Signature

Digital Stamp

Example Applications

  • Immediate confirmation of retrieval of money transfer order in Internet banking

    • Proof to show to your business partner

  • Digitally stamped legal proceedings

  • Stamping of query answer from official registers

  • E-invoicing (ref. 2001/115/EC)

  • ...


  • Legal leap from “what I saw in the screen” to “proof that the system produced this data at that time”

  • Big step towards automation

    • company stamp can replace signature in many cases signature is required by law today

  • Real birth of “electronic certificates” like birth certificate, marriage certificate, university diplomas,...

Current State of Deployment

  • Digital stamps are used for several years in banking applications

  • Estonia is going to legalize digital stamps by including the concept in Digital Signature Law

  • Number e-government solutions are lined up to make use of digital stamping

Thank You!

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