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Worldline enables the secure forgery-proof signature of Adobe e-documents

Worldline enables the secure forgery-proof signature of Adobe e-documents

Etienne Plouvier


Worldline is Adobe’s strategic partner as its e-signature service provider. Can you tell us more about this partnership?

Adobe is an important American company with a global reputation and reach that notably invented and democratized the PDF format. Its business model is to offer Cloud-based solutions and products for its three divisions: Marketing Cloud, Creative Cloud (including the very popular Photoshop tool) and Document Cloud. The latter division, with whom we are working, offers tools such as Acrobat.

Adobe’s Cloud usage is strategic as it enables a more secured license management and therefore a better protection against piracy. Additionally, Adobe developed connectors enabling direct access to its tools from within solutions such as SAP and Salesforce, among others (ed.: c. 150 connectors available as of today). This results in a simplified access to documents workflows, hosted on Adobe’s Document Cloud tool, in order to carry out validation and e-signature steps for these documents. Adobe generates between 6 and 7 billion signatures per year but these e-signatures are labelled “simple” because Adobe is not an approved certification authority compliant with the eIDAS European regulation. Only a certification authority can deliver e-certificates that accompany e-signatures to prove that the identity of the signatory has been verified.

Adobe has therefore partnered with companies that could fill this key regulatory gap. Being a certification authority, Worldline enables Adobe’s customers to securely sign documents, said signatures being forgery-proof.


What added value does Adobe find in this alliance with a trustworthy service provider like Worldline?

Unlike an American company who chose to acquire a certification authority when it entered the European market, Adobe took the strategic decision to leave the choice of the certification authority to its users hence enhancing its credibility on the European market because of its multiple local partners.

Which regulatory obligations does this e-signature cover?

First of all, it covers the eIDAS (electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services) regulation whose aim is to boost the digital economy and to create a single European market with e-signature interoperability and uniformity across all of Europe. Unlike a Directive that gets transposed in each member country and can therefore bring about some incompatibilities, this regulation is applicable as is.

This e-signature covers also the consent obligation as required by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Indeed, as of May 25th 2018, each European citizen will have to give his/her consent to companies collecting their personal data for them to use it. Through this e-signature, this consent can be given securely and undeniably.


Are there different types of e-signature and how do they differ?

Indeed, the eIDAS regulation identifies three types of e-signature:

  • The “simple” e-signature does not require any specific technical standards, only the signatory’s identity and the fact that the document has been untouched since it was signed have to be proven in case of dispute.
  • The “advanced” and the “qualified” e-signatures require technical standards and the use of digital certificates and cryptography. Hence the verification of the identity of the signatories is reinforced for these signatures.


How is Worldline present in the broader dematerialization market and more specifically in terms of e-identity?

Worldline has been offering dematerialization solutions for many years now as well as e-document legal archiving and e-identity solutions. Worldline also participates in several associations whose aim is to develop trust in the digital economy. E-transactions with legal value are therefore possible and accepted by all sides. The cornerstone of the legal aspects is the imputability of these transactions and of the e-identity. Worldline offers solutions recognized by the market with numerous international references. Moreover, we have been preselected in Denmark, and in the Netherlands, to take e-identity to the next level. Finally, the French government just issued an engagement letter to provide its citizens with an e-identity in 2019 and Worldline is bringing its expertise to this effort.