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Using signature on the web still not an option in Cyprus By Jacqueline Theodoulou from Cyprus Mail

IT HAS been five years since the harmonising law for electronic signatures was passed, yet it still hasn't been implemented.

According to the Chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee, Ionas Nicolaou of DISY, the law that protects consumers who wish to put their signature on something over the internet is inactive.

For example, if someone wishes to apply for something in a ministry, he can do so over the web and sign the relevant documents with his electronic signature, which he can scan into his computer.

During a discussion on the matter at yesterday's Committee meeting, it emerged that the government has decided to transfer the authority of implementing the law from the Commerce Ministry to the Communications Ministry.

"Unfortunately the law that was passed in 2004, which was part of our harmonisation with EU laws, until today, the authority in charge of implementing it – the Commerce Ministry – hasn't moved ahead with implementing the law and the government has decided to transfer this authority to the Communications Ministry's Electronics Department," said Nicolaou. "The reason it was transferred was because they saw that after almost five years, the Commerce Ministry didn't have the technical knowledge to implement it."

This, he said, involved all Cypriots. "It is sad that five years have passed for something that should have already been implemented."

The law, Nicolaou explained, enables the ministry to issue the necessary instructions and conditions that need to be followed to protect users who wish to sign something over the web.

In the event that someone falls victim to forgery or a scam, these conditions will be used during their court case.