What are the Legal Aspects of Digital Certificates

Legal Aspects of Digital Certificate

Wondering what is digital certificate? Blockchain-based digital certificates, or verifiable credentials, are akin to traditional digital certificates but do away with the associated cons, like difficulty to verify the authenticity of the document. But why digital certificate is required? Digital certificates on blockchain are necessary because they are secure. They aim to protect sensitive information from document fraud, like forgery, and authenticate the legitimacy of the claim endorsed.

Although there are multiple benefits of digital certificates, this raises the question: how are digital certificates verified? Verifiable credentials are verified on blockchain without having to contact the issuing party. However, despite the many advantages of digital certificate blockchain, there are certain legal aspects to it that organizations should be aware of.

Legal Regulations Pertaining to Digital Certificates

When thinking of the legal regulations pertaining to digital certificates, the first thing that pops into your head might be the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Verifiable Credentials Data Model. However, you’d be incorrect in mistaking these sets of standards as a legal rule.

Let us explain. Admittedly, a digital certificate using blockchain won’t be deemed a verifiable credential until it follows the rules laid out in the data model, there won’t be any penalties or fees for flouting the standards. This is why it can’t be considered as a legal rule for digital certificates.

To ease your confusion, here are a few rules you do need to look for when issuing, managing, and storing digital certificates:

  • Follow the rules pertaining to certifying authorities. Since they are an essential component of a digital certificate, you must check the local rules and follow them. The rules might dictate the activities of the certifying authorities, the required security infrastructure, the process to verify or revoke certificates, and the document storage procedures. Every single point is vital, so take note of the rules and comply with them.
  • Another regulation you need to keep in mind, especially if you operate your business in the European Union (EU), is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Wondering how this is important and pertains to your business? Well, the GDPR has issued regulations and governs the way businesses collect, store, and manage customer data. It also has strict regulations pertaining to the security of the collected data. Violation of the guidelines can lead to hefty fines and penalties. So, follow the GDPR regulations closely if you happen to conduct business in the EU. If not, follow the local or state data protection laws pertinent to your place of business.
  • Misusing digital certificates or issuing them specifically will also lead to legal liabilities. Ensure your issued verifiable credentials are on the up-and-up.

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