Organization of American States Department of<br />Human Development
Digital Signature: Technical & Legal Issues / Firma Digital: Cuestiones Técnicas & Legales



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This application must be completed on-line.



                                                “DIGITAL SIGNATURE: Technical and legal issues”


OAS/DHD/CIR. 048/2009


1)       Study venue:  Universidad Blas Pascal, Argentina  Tel. (54-351) 414-4444; Fax (54-351) 414-4400


2)            Offered by: Universidad Blas Pascal node of the Center of Excellence for the Americas of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 


3)            Coordinators:

·         Néstor Pisciotta: Tel. (54-351) 414-4444; Fax (54-351) 414-4400; Email:

·         Melba Lucía de Reyes: Tel: (504) 220-6666, Fax: (504) 220-1197.  E-mail:


4)      Modality:                       Distance – Assisted


5)      Start and end dates:        June 1 to September 4, 2009


6)      Course duration:         The student has access to the course for 90 days. Please see the methodology for the course for more information.


7)      Language:                      Spanish/English

8)      Objectives:

·               To gain good knowledge of the technical and legal aspects of electronic/digital signatures in order to develop the capacity to implement this legal-technological mechanism in the participant’s workplace (private, public, academic, judicial sector, etc.)

·               To recognize the legal differences between the different types of electronic/digital signatures so as to be able to evaluate correctly the advantages and disadvantages of each.

·               To study the mathematical principles underlying the most widely-used algorithms in the digital signature area to gain a fuller understanding of some of the concepts mentioned in legislation in this area.

·               To gain awareness of the technological operation of the electronic/digital signature mechanism, especially public key infrastructure, to understand the possibilities afforded by this technology for the security of Internet transactions and operations.

·             To define the legal requirements to be met by electronic/digital signature mechanisms in order to be able to evaluate correctly the legal and/or contractual framework on which such mechanisms must be based.

·              To compare analytically legislation on electronic/digital signatures in force in some countries of the Americas region so as to be able to evaluate the status of legislation in the region and the participant’s country and understand the deficiencies of and emerging opportunities for the implementation of secure Internet transactions and operations. 

·              To distinguish correctly the electronic/digital signature and electronic/digital documents from traditional handwritten signatures and hard copy documents to gain a full understanding of the amendments to legislation and technological changes that must be implemented in the Americas region for the implementation of secure Internet transactions and operations.

·               To gain awareness of the evidentiary value of electronic documents in the legislation in force in the countries of the Americas region in order to be able to understand in situations where disputes may arise the actual uses of this mechanism to establish facts and for legal purposes.

9)   Content: 

·               Legal and technological aspects of the digital signature:  Basic concepts. Public network security:  Expanding the company’s limits:  Business-to-business (B2B).  Business-to-consumer (B2C).  Linking citizens to government agencies (e-government).  Expanding the company’s limits:  Business-to-business (B2B).  Business-to-consumer (B2C).  Applications for government agencies (e-government).  Documents and e-documents:  Concept.  Elements.  Types of legal documents.  The signature:  Concept.  Historical evolution.  Types.  Purpose.  The digital signature:  Concept.  Historical evolution.  Digital signature (advanced digital signature) and electronic signature.  Operation.  Purpose.  Digital certificates.  Concept.  Content.  Operation.  Purpose.

·               Unit 2:  Introduction.  Types of Internet attack.  Strength of identification.  Principles of cryptography.  Classical cryptography.  Substitution algorithm.  Transposition algorithm.  Modern cryptography.  Symmetric algorithms.  Data encryption standard (DES) algorithm.  Variants of the DES algorithm:  Cryptanalysis of symmetric algorithms.  Differential cryptanalysis:  Linear cryptanalysis:  RSA algorithms.  RSA weaknesses:  Weak keys.  Short keys.  Third-party attacks.  Special plain text.  Cryptography applied to Internet security.  Confidentiality.  Integrity.  Authentication.  Non-repudiation of digital signature.

·               Unit 3:  Introduction.  Public key infrastructure (PKI).  Identity theft.  Digital certificates: X.509 certificates. People’s certificates.  Server certificates.  Certifying authority certificates.  Software edition certificates.  Certifying authority (CA) certificate revocation:  Certifying authority hierarchy.  Certifying authority responsibility:  Use of PKI on the Internet.  Secure storage.  Smart cards:  Legal description of technological concepts.  Chapter I:  General considerations.  Chapter II:  Digital certificates.  Chapter III:  Licensed certifiers.  Chapter IV:  Digital certificate holder.

·               Unit 4:  Electronic signature provisions.  Review of electronic signature provisions.  Types of electronic signatures.  Electronic signature concept.  Digital signature concept.  Principle of functional equivalence.  Presumption of authorship.  Presumption of integrity.  Validity requirements.  Legal effectiveness of the electronic signature.  Comparative table.


10)      Methodology:  This a self-paced online study method.  On enrolling, participants access a very easy-to-browse e-learning platform.  There they will find all course content, study materials, and tests.  The course may be accessed for up to 90 days. 


·         There is an online help desk to assist participants with the necessary technical and administrative steps during the course (Hours:  9 a.m. to 9 p.m. GMT +3).  The course includes activities to evaluate mastery of the course content. 

·         These include self-correctable tests that may be retaken as many times as necessary.  At the end of the course, if the participants pass the final exam, they may print from the e-learning platform a Universidad Blas Pascal certificate of successful course completion.  If they wish, prospective participants may see a demonstration of how the course will be conducted by following the link:   For English:


11)      Requirements:

·                  Citizenship or permanent residence of an OAS Member State, with the exception of the Argentina since is the host country.

·                  Operations and technology managers, R & D managers, legal, regulatory, and supervisory managers or vice presidents, network managers, government officials involved in technical security control, auditors of regulatory bodies, engineers of network technical/operation areas with responsibility for aspects related to corporate e-commerce or e-business, ministry technical auditors, government agencies and regulatory bodies, and heads of division or similar posts interested in refreshing and deepening their knowledge of the importance, use, and meaning of digital signatures.

·                  At least two years’ experience in the area of study.

·                  The request should include an e-mail. Requests that do not include an e-mail will not be considered.

·                  A health certificate is not required.

·                  Computer: should include the last versions of browsers. Access to Internet: it should have access to the network from its work place or home. The minimum acceptable modem speed is: 28.8 kbps. Browser: The browser that you use is very important. The e-learning platform requires a browser that allows to use Java, Javascript. These options should be enabled in the browser.

·                  Submission of completed application form by the deadline set by the National Liaison Organization (ONE).[1]  It is the candidate’s responsibility to ascertain the deadline set by the ONE in his or her country of residence


12)  OAS Scholarship Selection Criteria:  In accordance with article 4.2. of the Manual of Procedures of the Scholarship and Training Programs of the OAS, OAS scholarships shall be granted based on the following criteria:

·         The objectives and priorities established in the Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development;

  • The training priorities of the member states;
  • The merits and overall credentials of the candidate, including his/her academic and professional background;
  • The financial need of the candidate; and
  • An extensive and equitable geographic distribution for the benefit of all member states and that takes into account the greater needs of the smaller and relatively less developed economies. 

13)   Benefits: 

  The CITEL/OAS will cover the complete registration fee of the selected candidates. 


14)  Responsibilities of the Selected Candidates:

  • The selected candidates must confirm their acceptance to the OAS General Secretariat Office in their respective countries and through the ONE in order for the OAS to proceed with making the necessary arrangements or, if the scholarship is refused, to appoint another candidate.
  • The selected candidates must confirm their acceptance of the scholarship by signing and returning to DHD their completed “form of acceptance of the scholarship award”; that the OAS Department of Human Development will send to their e-mails.
  • Upon selection, candidates must accept the scholarship by confirming their availability to follow the course during the period indicated and their acceptance of the duly provided conditions of study. 
  • If the fellow declines, cancel or terminates the Scholarship after the course or program has started without giving enough proof to the OAS/GS, he or she must reimburse OAS/GS the total amount of incurred costs/expenses.
  • Computer access and communication costs (Internet access and e-mail) are the responsibility of the student.  Computer: should include the last versions of browsers. Access to Internet: it should have access to the network from its work place or home. The minimum acceptable modem speed is: 28.8 kbps. Browser: The browser that you use is very important. The e-learning platform requires a browser that allows to use Java, Javascript. These options should be enabled in the browser.
  • In the event a selected candidate accepts the scholarship and then, for good reason, is unable to follow the course, he or she must so inform the Department of Human Development immediately so that it may decide what actions to take.

15)  Certification: The participants can print the certificate on line after finishing the course with the endorsement of the Universidad Blas Pascal.


16) Presentation of Candidacies: 

Please Notice:  If you were awarded an OAS Professional Development Scholarship in the past twelve (12) months or if you currently hold an OAS Scholarship for Academic Studies, you are not eligible to apply for another Professional Development Scholarship.


The online application form must be completed on-line and can be accessed at:;  here you’ll find the announcements of all the online courses, click in the one you are interested in, go though the end of the page, and then you’ll find the Continue button which will direct you to the online application form.

Once the applicant has completed the online application form and submitted it, a copy will be sent automatically to his/her e-mail account. This completed form must be printed, signed and submitted to the National Liaison Office (ONE) with all other forms ( that must be completed electronically or in typewritten format.


The following is the list of National Liaison Organizations (ONEs) in the OAS Member states:


Any questions regarding submission of applications for this course should be sent to:





 Department of Human Development


 LZea-Yonker/Firma Digital/CITEL/Online/English/2009

[1] The deadline for presentation of applications to the (ONE) differs from country to country and should therefore be confirmed with the relevant ONE in the applicant's country of origin or permanent residence.



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