New possibilities for using the electronic signature

Bern, 23.11.2016 - From 2017 businesses and authorities will be able to certify their digital documents. The complete revision of the Ordinance on the Electronic Signature, approved by the Federal Council in its session of 23 November 2016, lays down the conditions. It takes account of recent developments in the financial services sector, which give banks the possibility of identifying their customers without them being physically present.

When it adopted the revision of the Ordinance on the Electronic Signature, the Federal Council laid down the conditions under which providers of electronic signatures (certification service providers) can be recognized and what their rights and duties are. It set the entry into force of the new text as 1 January 2017, at the same time as the new Electronic Signature Act (SCSE), which had already been adopted by Parliament on 18 March 2016. Between now and then OFCOM will revise the technical and administrative regulations which detail and complete the provisions.

Widening of scope

The new legal basis for the electronic signature makes it possible to promote the provision of secure certification services to a wider audience. So thanks to the "regulated" electronic postmark, businesses will be able to guarantee the integrity and provenance of their electronic documents, such as invoices, for example. The authorities, for their part, will be able to use this postmark to certify their publications on the internet, such as the texts of the Official Compilation of federal legislation and the Federal Gazette, or to sign some of their decisions.

It will be possible to use the new regulated certificates as means of electronic identification, in particular to access online services. In addition, they will make it possible to encrypt electronic data whose confidentiality can then be guaranteed when it is transmitted.

Online identification in the banking sector

The new ordinance will allow real-time audio-visual communication to identify persons wishing to carry out digital transactions, such as, for example, the opening of a bank account.

Address for enquiries

Jean-Maurice Geiser, Deputy Head of the Legal Affairs Telecommunications Section, Federal Office of Communications OFCOM, Tel.: +41 58 460 55 08,


The Federal Council

General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

Federal Office of Communications