Translation of the original intervew published in the “Lawyerpress News”, a spanish legal portal.
LP: Mr. Scalabrino, you are an entrepreneur within the LegalTech environment in Spain. How did you come about with the idea of launching Certifydoc?
MS: I noticed that there was a way of defending consumers against the abuses of large size companies in Southern Europe. For example, cases involving the change of unauthorized rates, difficulties in unsubscribing from certain platforms or sites, forcing you to basically give up your information in order to communicate with customer support, etc. Thus, we had to find a way of providing legal relevance to screenshots, videos, photos, recordings with legal certified value. And that’s how Certifydoc came about, as the European timestamping solution certifiers in an easy, fast, and affordable way…
LP: The certification of documents we have on our computers, tablets, and smartphones seems somewhat of a very complicated process. How does it work?
MS: Everything unknown to us will seem very complicated, but it’s not. That is why one of the key objectives of Certifydoc is to deal with the associated complexity and make it easy and fast for the user. You simply need access to a browser on any device and login to your own private environment, without having to pay for royalties or complicated registrations. In fact, just by registering, the system will give you 3 certifications for free.
You simply have to upload the documents (of any type and combined if needed), complete 4 fields and submit them with a single click, and in less than 120 seconds the user will receive an email with everything needed to provide certified legal value to their documents. Everything is organized in a way so that you can store the certified files accordingly, which includes the certifying documents, a PDF summary that can be printed and some technical explanations for those who need further information. In addition, you may also share it with a single click to the Justice authorities, lawyers or simply to negotiate the certified matter with greater deterrent effect.
LP: The website states that is has legal value. How is it obtained and is it really valid in any court?
MS: Certifydoc sends it to more than two “qualified electronic trust service providers” from the European list and the Digital Agenda Ministry.
https://sedeaplicaciones.minetur.gob.es/Prestadores/ and http://tlbrowser.tsl.website/tools/, for example, “Izenpe”.
The time stamp provided by the aforementioned certifiers provides certified legal value to the files based on the “Date certain” criteria (no later than) and its Integrity (if they are authentic files or have been manipulated in a fraudulent or accidental manner).
Few people know that they also have to apply the time stamp to documents that have been signed electronically, since these types of time stamp have a validity that lasts much longer than the e-signature and because the e-signature does not grant the aforementioned “Date certain” feature.
Complete references to the legislation:
- Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 23, 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93 / EC
- Law 59/2003, of December 19, on e-signature. (Spain)
- Law 39/2015, of October 1, on the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations (Spain)
Law 40/2015, of October 1, on the Legal Regime of the Public Sector. (Spain)
In addition to qualified and trusted time stamping certifiers, Certifydoc itself provides a free encryption service of maximum security and confidentiality, advancing the times, regarding the new GDPR. This encryption service can also provide an indication of the paternity of creations where copyright is important and cases of intellectual property.
In addition, Certifydoc does not store anything that has been uploaded in the cloud, complying with the new European data protection regulations. We can encrypt everything that is submitted, which goes beyond the new European regulations, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679).
By being Certifydoc an intermediary, the certification is granted directly by trusted time stamp certifiers qualified by the EU, and not by Certifydoc, which considerably reduces any reputational risk or long-term unavailability risk of the validity of the certification.
LP: Lawyers in Spain are not very tech-savvy. What feedback have you received from your clients when you introduce them this application?
MS: They all consider it interesting and immediately research how it can be useful in their daily work. The first frequent comment that I have received is that they first need to understand the legal framework and jurisprudence and ask me whether I can provide it quickly to them since very few are trained on this topic in depth. Surprisingly, the second comment I receive is whether they can print something, a PDF for example. That is why, we have added a PDF summary in each email so that clients can print it, store it or present it. Only after those initial questions, they usually research about the price and are very happy to discover that the cost is equivalent to the cost of a breakfast, which is paid upon being used and does not require any type of registration fee or periodic payment.
LP: For all those who feel somewhat skeptical with technology, what would you tell them so that they can try Certifydoc?
MS: That it´s very user friendly, they do not have to learn anything else if they have already learned to use a browser or a mobile app. All the steps are guided and explained thoroughly so you do not have to learn anything about technology. Certifydoc takes care of all the associated complexity so that the user can use it easily, quickly and affordably.
LP: Online services are increasingly more frequent. The LegalTech service map is already very large and widely used by start-ups. What is the business plan of Certifydoc? What are your invoicing expectations?
MS: In the next two years, Certifydoc’s business plan will focus on B2B in the following segments: Justice / lawyers, real estate / developer / construction, consumer defense, farm managers, experts, private investigators, computer forensics, WhatsApp certifications for domestic violence, protection of intellectual property and when the market will be mature we will also move to B2C. We do not publish billing expectations due to confidentiality reasons towards current investors.
LP: What marketing strategy does Certifydoc follow?
MS: Certifydoc intends to use digital marketing as the main B2B Marketing channel and as a means for brand awareness.
Social networks, specialized blog sectors, SEO, Certifydoc’s own blog and agreements with associations from the sector.
LP: And speaking of the LegalTech environment, where can we expect the greatest advances?
MS: In the relationship between lawyers and courts, in the electronic signature of contracts and communications with the public administration, in the protection of data of the European Union, and in cybersecurity.
I believe that the speed of the massive adoption from lawyers will depend on the jurisprudence and the rulings.
In the EU, all countries are moving forward with the electronic process based on the laws on electronic signature. It is a matter of when will it occur rather than whether it will happen and it will force the entire sector to think electronically and become paperless.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will also provide an enormous boost and direction to the sector in all Europe not only in Spain.
Needless to mention, the increasingly risk of cyber-attacks will also be a very important driver for the LegalTech sector.
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