e-Services in Spain

In the last years, I have used frequently several public services on line in my country, Spain.

The mechanism that I have used to be related to the Administration has been a digital certificate regulated by the Law 59/2003 of Electronic Signature. In this regard, digital certificate is a sequence of information attached to a document, which applies a set of mathematical algorithms and which allows to offer certain guarantees of safety on the signed document, crediting the one who is his author (authentication) and that there has not existed any later manipulation of the information (integrity).

From a more technical perspective, certificates are a set of information that link a public key with the identity of a natural or juridical person, so that it is possible to verify that a public key really belongs to the one who says to possess it. By means of a digital certificate it is not possible that another person uses a public key that belongs to another individual. In certain sense, a digital certificate is the Id Card or Passport in the world of the new technologies.

In practice, digital certificates allow citizens to identify themselves telematically and to be able to sign or code electronic documents.

Saying this, it is worth noting on the securing and working of the digital certificates in Spain.

First of all, it is necessary to request the certificate from a certification services provider, who is the natural or legal person who sends electronic certificates, that in my case was the public entity of certification CERES.

Secondly, it is necessary to download and install the digital certificate software and to provide the personal information asked by the certification services provider.

In the third place, the software provides a private key which is installed in the browser and which provides an alphanumeric code that it is necessary to retain.

In the fourth place, appointment must be requested in an office of the Tax Agency and present so much the alphanumeric code obtained as a copy of the identity card.

In fifth place, after 24 hours we will be able to download and to install the digital certificate in our browser.

Once obtained and installed the digital certificate, citizens can realize all kinds of online administrative procedures with the Administration. In my case, I have used the digital certificates for the following purposes:

1) Acquisition of documents, as for example a copy of the social security number, an insurance history, etc.

2) Inscription as employer to hire a servant.

3) Presentation of the Personal Income Tax.

4) Access to my health reports.

Apart from the advantage that bears the use of the digital certificates, I must emphasize as disadvantage that, sometimes, Administration web pages do not allow an effective use of the digital certificates, since javascript code problems are frequent, making the loading of the page impossible.

In spite of this, the use of the digital certificates turns out to be advisable for the saving of time and for the serviceability to realize administrative procedures. – Cristian Raul Sanchez Curto, Spain

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