See how digital certificates validate electronic documents

- 22/01/2021

In the digital age, electronic signatures play essential role in attesting the integrity, the authenticity and the authorship of documents. They are a legal way to obtain consent or approval on documents or electronic forms and can replace a manual signature in almost all personal or administrative processes, except in cases, where a qualified signature is required.

To mention some examples, there are contracts, application and registration forms, integration of new collaborators and suppliers, non-disclosure agreements, and digital diplomas in the universities.

Even before the pandemic and the need of remote access, the transactions with physical documents have often been expensive or little efficient, increasing bureaucracy even more. With the advent of electronic signatures, it is possible to speed this process up, in addition to reducing expenses for paper, ink and submission, generating savings and contributing to the environment as well. 


In countries around the world, the legislation in force had to adapt to this new social behavior. In 2000, the United States approved ESIGN law, making electronic signatures legal for any use. In the European Union, the Electronic Identification and Trusted Services Regulation (eIDAS) came into force in July 2016.

In Brazil, since 2001, the Public Power admits use of electronic signatures in its operations, with Provisional Measure nº 2.200-2/01, which established the Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure standard (ICP-Brasil). 

ICP-Brasil is composed of Certification Authorities (CA) who, by means of a set of techniques and procedures and a cryptography system, are able to assure the identity of the sender or the receiver of messages, in addition to the authenticity of documents by electronic means. In Brazil, ICP-Brasil is characterized by the presence of a hierarchical or vertical system with a root CA, administered by the National Institute of Information Technology (ITI).

On September 23, 2020,  Law nº 14.063/20 was approved, bringing new regulation on the subject, including the adoption of electronic signatures in interactions with public entities, such as health issues and software licenses. 

This law established three types of electronic signatures, simple, advanced and qualified. The qualified signature, guaranteed by ICP-Brasil certificates, is at the top of this hierarchy, followed by the advanced electronic signature, guaranteed by a certificate of technical characteristics, such as those of the ICPEdu personal certificates, which are legally valid, i.e., they are opposable to third parties and can be used as evidence.


The personal certificate of ICPEdu, a digital certification service offered by RNP, enables electronic signature of the advanced type, because it allows to prove the integrity, the authenticity and the authorship of the documents, which guarantees its high degree of reliability. It also detects any subsequent modifications to the document. 

ICPEdu it is the effort of RNP to enable implementation of academic public key infrastructure. Today, in addition to the issuance of SSL type certificates (ICPEdu - Corporate) by the educational and research institutions, individuals linked to these institutions can also issue their own digital certificates securely through the ICPEdu - Personal Certificate service. 

To take ICPEdu to your institution, contact RNP Service Desk by e-mail or telephone 0800 722 0216.