The ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability (CTI) plays a pivotal role in organizing events that foster innovation and ensure the seamless integration of electronic signatures. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll not only explore the latest insights from the 2023 ETSI Signature Plugtests and the extended LTA Signature Augmentation and Validation Plugtests but also take a reflective journey into the previous year’s event.

Dive into the world of digital signature horizon ETSI’s insights and discover the latest trends in electronic signatures and interoperability.

1. ETSI’s Signature Plugtests Chronicles

1.1 Setting the Stage: A Recap of 2022

Before delving into the latest events, it’s essential to reflect on the significance of the 4th eSignature validation Plugtests conducted remotely from 16th May to 15th July 2022. This event was a crucial milestone in assessing the readiness of European Union Member States' digital signatures for online services provided by or on behalf of public sector bodies.

Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, known as the eIDAS Regulation, forms the legal backbone for trust services related to digital signatures in the European Union. It mandates advanced electronic signatures or seals for online services offered by public sector bodies. The 2022 Plugtests aimed to ensure the cross-border applicability of these signatures by testing them against existing Digital Signature validation applications.

1.1.2 Objectives of the 4th eSignature Validation Plugtests

  1. Taking Stock: Evaluate the digital signatures used by Member States for their public online services and test their cross-border validation.

  2. Issue Detection: Identify potential issues in different validation processes and assess differences in validation applications for the same signature.

  3. Basis for Clarifications: Provide a foundation for understanding problems faced by validation applications, indicating areas where further clarifications, whether in standards or policy/legislation, may be necessary.

1.2 Plugtests Organization and Expectations

The organization of the 4th eSignature validation Plugtests was meticulous, with a focus on maximizing utility for participants. The interoperability testing allowed participants to validate their digital signature tools and cross-validate ETSI Digital Signatures using EU Member States' Trusted Lists.

1.2.1 Participant Involvement

Each participant was tasked with generating and applying valid digital signatures with specific characteristics relevant to their Member State. Subsequently, participants were invited to cross-verify these signatures and generate standardized ETSI validation reports.

1.2.2 Interoperability Matrixes

The Plugtests portal facilitated the automatic generation of updated interoperability matrixes, providing participants with a comprehensive overview. Regular notifications via a dedicated mailing list kept all participants informed throughout the testing process.

1.3 Tested Digital Signature Formats and Standards

The testing covered the validation of five main Digital Signature formats (XAdES, CAdES, PAdES, ASiC, and JAdES) based on relevant standards. These included:

  • EN 319 102-1: Procedures for Creation and Validation of AdES Digital Signatures; Part 1: Creation and Validation.

  • TS 119 102-2: Procedures for Creation and Validation of AdES Digital Signatures; Part 2: Signature Validation Report.

  • TS 119 172-4: Signature Validation Policy for European Qualified Electronic Signatures/Seals Using Trusted Lists.

2. ETSI’s Ongoing Endeavors: 2023 Events

2.1 Extended LTA Signature Augmentation and Validation Plugtests

As we transition to the latest events, the ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability is at the forefront of organizing the LTA Signature Augmentation and Validation Plugtests 2023. With an extended timeline running remotely from 23 October to 22 December, this event specifically focuses on Electronic Signature Validation.

2.1.1 Scope of the LTA Plugtests

This year’s LTA Signature Augmentation and Validation Plugtests will once again bring together participants to test the interoperability and validity of their digital signature tools. However, a key difference from previous years is that participants will not only verify each other’s entries but also augment each other’s signatures to LTA (Long-Term Archiving) level and verify the augmented signatures of each other.

This additional step aims to further ensure that the signatures are valid and trustworthy for long-term storage and archival. By augmenting signatures to the LTA level, participants will be able to guarantee that even if the signing environment changes or becomes unavailable in the future, the signatures will still be verifiable.

2.1.2 Standards and Signature Formats

The interoperability testing will adhere to standards such as EN 319 102-1, TS 119 102-2, TS 119 172-4, and TS 119 312. Signature formats addressed include XAdES, PAdES, CAdES, ASiC, and JAdES, demonstrating a comprehensive evaluation of digital signature capabilities.

3. Conclusion - Bridging the Past and Future

As we conclude this exploration, it’s evident that ETSI’s commitment to ensuring the interoperability and security of digital signatures remains unwavering.

Unidoc demonstrated its cutting-edge capabilities at the recent ETSI Plugtests 2023, showcasing its robust PAdES implementation and commitment to interoperability. Notably, Unidoc successfully:

  • Provided signatures for all four levels of PAdES (PDF Advanced Electronic Signatures), solidifying its position as a comprehensive solution for e-signatures.

  • Augmented other participants' entries to the Long-Term Archive (LTA) level, contributing significantly to the event’s focus on long-term signature validity.

  • Passed all validation tests conducted by other participants, further confirming the compatibility and reliability of Unidoc’s digital signature solutions.

By exceeding expectations at the Plugtests, Unidoc has cemented its reputation as a leader in PAdES and LTA signature integration and compatibility. This accomplishment underscores Unidoc’s commitment to providing secure and interoperable solutions for a wide range of e-signature needs. You can learn more about Unidoc’s achievement in the ETSI event by visiting this link.