If one is interested in public key infrastructures, sooner or later they will run into the European Union’s Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, or as the majority calls it, eIDAS, which regulates electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the (European) internal market. If we focus on trust services, most of the section names of the document are pretty much self-explanatory for anyone who is somewhat interested in the field. In spite of this, there are some exceptions, which may require further lookup; one of these is Section 7 (articles 43 and 44) about electronic registered delivery services. Some may ask what eIDAS means by that category? If one wants to find that out or wants to learn more about the actual mechanism behind it, it is advised to read the related standards, namely the ETSI TC ESI’s x19 5xx set of standards, published this year, which this article will introduce.
One of the reasons why TC ESI started to work on standards related to electronic registered delivery service (ERDS) and registered electronic mail (REM) was to support articles 43 and 44 of the eIDAS regulation. Performing this work, due to the urgency of the production of standards, TC ESI was assisted by a Specialist Task Force (STF 523) to accelerate the velocity. Kornél Réti from Microsec actively took part in developing the standard package (Microsec also has a long history participating in e-delivery; the company even developed a prototype compatible with the REM standards). The task of standardizing e-delivery was successfully done and by February 28, 2019, all related standards were published under the name of ETSI TC ESI x19 5xx.
Figure 1: ETSI eIDAS Standards Framework: Published Standards. Source: https://docbox.etsi.org/Workshop/2017/201706_SECURITYWEEK/03_eDELIVERY/S01_ERDS_STDS_ACTIVITIES/ETSI_TC_ESI_WORK_E_REGIST_DEL_SERV_ELECT_MAIL_STF523.pdf
This set of documents contains four European Standards (EN), two Technical Specifications (TS), and one Technical Report (TR). Generally, these standards are about two topics: Electronic Registered Delivery Services and Registered Electronic Mail Services, falling into three categories: policy, technical implementation and testing.
But what exactly is an electronic registered delivery service (ERDS), and what is REM? ERDS is an electronic delivery methodology which provides evidence about events that occur between the participants during the transfer of data, proving that certain transactions took place, basically being the electronic equivalent of postal return receipts and related procedures.
The main advantage of this set of standards is that, paired with the actual real-life implementations, they will make delivery less expensive than traditional postal services and they will give a green light to a much faster, completely electronic administration of such services.
In the next post, we will dive deep in the mechanism behind e-delivery on a more technical perspective with analyzing the ETSI EN 319 522 standard.
Luca Boldrin, Juan Carlos Cruellas, Santino Foti, Paloma Llaneza, Kornél Réti: ETSI TC ESI WORK ON ELECTRONIC REGISTERED DELIVERY SERVICES AND REGISTERED ELECTRONIC MAIL. https://docbox.etsi.org/Workshop/2017/201706_SECURITYWEEK/03_eDELIVERY/S01_ERDS_STDS_ACTIVITIES/ETSI_TC_ESI_WORK_E_REGIST_DEL_SERV_ELECT_MAIL_STF523.pdf
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