Guide: What is a QTSP?

In this article we will explain what a Qualified Trust Service Provider is. The official eIDAS high definition outlines a qualified trust service provider (QTSP) as either a natural person or a legal entity offering one or more qualified trust services.

The primary objective of the eIDAS Regulation is to establish a comprehensive framework for secure, reliable, and straightforward cross-border electronic transactions. Qualified trust services play a crucial role in achieving this objective, given their recognized legal validity at the European level.

To attain the status of a QTSP, an entity must undergo an independent conformity assessment and audit conducted by an accredited institution (recognized by the national accreditation body) under the EU eIDAS regulation. This assessment covers aspects such as security, trust level, and service quality. These regulations aim to foster trust among consumers and businesses, encouraging the utilization of certified trust services.

Typically, the higher cost associated with qualified services stems from the reversed burden of proof in any disputes. Hence, QTSPs are obligated to verify the accuracy of the services they provide.

A trust service encompasses:

  • Creating, verifying, and validating electronic signatures, electronic timestamps, and certificates related to these services, all in compliance with the requirements set by the eIDAS Regulation.

However, a QTSP, having obtained qualification from a supervisory body, can offer ‘qualified’ versions of these services, which include:

  • A Qualified Electronic Signature: An advanced electronic signature created by a qualified electronic signature creation device based on a qualified electronic signature certificate. It adheres to the same definition as an Advanced Electronic Signature and involves specific requirements such as the issuance of the user’s digital certificate by a trusted Qualified Certificate Authority and the management of the user’s signing key within a trusted Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD).
  • A Qualified Timestamp: Provides certainty about the existence of specific electronic data at a particular moment, such as evidence of document submission or invoice issuance.
  • A Qualified Electronic Seal: An advanced electronic seal created by a qualified electronic seal creation device, allowing legal persons and corporations to authenticate automated administrative actions, like mass signing of official documents.

Engaging the services of a Qualified Trust Service Provider offers several advantages to an organization, including:

  • Substantially reducing the risk associated with electronic transactions.
  • High insurance against disputes, resulting in decreased liability for the company.
  • Assurance that transactions are legally binding across EU borders.
  • Receiving a higher quality of services.

One of the key goals of the ‘qualified’ status is to achieve cross-border interoperability and recognition of electronic products and trust services across all EU Member States. Hence, a qualified product from a QTSP based in any Member State is considered qualified in every Member State.

Ubiqu provides technology to multiple QTSPs in order for them to provide electronic signature and seal validation, timestamping services, and certification for validity, ensuring adherence to the highest standards of confidence and trustworthiness, and compliance with the eIDAS regulatory requirements for qualified trust services. We also offer a Qualified Signature Creation Device that meets the certification requirements outlined in Annex II of the eIDAS Regulation for qualified signature and seal creation devices.

Maarten de Boo