One of the consequences of increasingly widespread use of electronic messaging is that there is a rising need for making statements with legal effect also in electronic form (e.g. contractual offer and its acceptance, performance verification). This requires that the parties making such contact can determine who has sent the given message and whether its content has changed since its sending. (The equivalent of the first function in paper-based contracts is the signature.) Documents in electronic form can also contain the name of the entity that assumes liability for the statement made therein, but naturally it does not have the probative force of a hand-written signature therefore various technologies had to be elaborated to ensure that signature in electronic form has the same authenticity as a paper-based signature. The legal effects of using such technologies, the requirements for such technologies and the organisations providing such services are regulated by Act 35 of 2001 on electronic signature.
The great information technology progress seen today dramatically changes the earlier forms of social and economic contacts. One of the results of this development is the spreading use of information society related services, various business and commercial transactions carried out through electronic data transmission (electronic commerce) and delivery of other services by electronic means. Act 108 of 2001 on certain issues of electronic commerce services and information society related services was passed to lay down the basic rules regulating the private law based legal relations created through electronic communications facilities and to create the legal conditions connected with information society related services. Implementation of the rules laid down in this Act is ensured among others by the Act on electronic signature.
The following laws provide – in addition to the requirements applicable to electronic signature related services, service providers, products, certification organisations and experts – for the authority's duties, registers to be kept and the role of the Authority in the area of electronic commerce in respect of unsolicited e-mail advertisements (spam).