Telekom-Control Commission is active as supervisory authority for electronic signatures

Since 1 January 2000 the Telekom-Control Commission has acted as supervisory authority under the Signaturgesetz (Signature Act) which is the legal basis for electronic signatures

Press release dated 11 January 2000


On 1 January 2000, Telekom Control, the regulator for the Austrian telecom market, took up its function as supervisory authority for all existing and newly founded certification companies. "In doing this, we offer our capacity in this field to a new, booming market at the right time", says Dr. Heinrich Otruba, spokesman of the supervisory authority for electronic signatures at the Telecom-Control Commission.

In the meeting of 10 January 2000, the Telekom-Control Commission reviewed the notifications of the first four providers, Generali Office-Service und Consulting AG, Datakom Austria GmbH, Innovation Systems Informationstechnologie GmbH and Arge Daten, Austrian Society for Data Protection, who have notified the supervisory authority for electronic signatures that they are issuing certificates already.

The new activity of the Telekom-Control Commission is based on the Signaturgesetz (Signature Act) passed in the National Council in mid-July 1999. The Signature Act governs the legal recognition of the electronic signature, thus creating legal certainty in electronic commerce. By means of the certificates issued by certification service providers, which actually are "electronic IDs" in the Internet, the market players will be able to identify their business partners. As supervisory body, the Telekom-Control Commission will monitor the reliability of the providers of certification services.

The supervisory body for electronic signatures has the following functions:

  • Supervision of all companies offering certificates for electronic signatures to their customers.
  • For those certification bodies which want to enjoy a privileged position the Telekom-Control Commission acts as accreditation body awarding a so-called "seal of quality" to providers of qualified certificates and secure electronic signatures. The first applications for accreditation are expected to be received this spring.

The supervisory authority has to keep an electronic record of all providers. The providers active on the market can be retrieved from the supervisory authority's home page - In the future, the supervisory body will also issue certificates to the providers and keep them in a directory which corresponds to the highest security standards so that the authenticity of every single signature can be unmistakably verified 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.