Update on secure, approved e-archiving: Royal Decree is coming - Beltug involved


e-Archiving: Royal Decree expected in February 2019


The 2016 Digital Act is intended to ensure a secure and reliable framework for electronic archiving to be equivalent to paper archiving. The law makes the bar very high by specifying that only ‘qualified’ e-archiving would be considered equivalent to paper archiving. Once enough providers can offer this qualified e-archiving, it will be made mandatory.


However, in the meantime, all existing e-archiving is ‘unqualified’. The conditions to become ‘qualified’ are onerous: requiring significant investments in audits, security measures and systems.


Following the insistence of companies and of Beltug, representing the voice of the digital technology users, the cabinet of the minister of the digital agenda has created an "e-archiving task force", to specify the standards to obtain the ‘qualified’ status. The cabinet confirmed that a new royal decree would be published in February 2018 to clarify these standards.


This will enable companies and service providers to take the necessary steps to become qualified. It will also become clear how the costs of ‘qualified’ e-archiving compare to more general e-archiving solutions and whether there is a positive dynamic for the move towards the ‘qualified’ e-archiving.


Beltug at the AAFB study day


The AAFB (Association of Francophone Archivists of Belgium) organised a study day to discuss the topic. During a debate, to which Beltug participated, a French company confirmed that in France, which has had a framework of standards for more than 10 years, only a few companies have been audited to receive the label.


Presentations highlighted practical problems that do not yet enable ‘qualified’ archiving, and working groups discussed the progress of e-invoicing and the difficulties of writing specifications.


So what should companies do? This will probably depend on the criticality of the e-archive for their business:

  • If it is ‘unthinkable’ to lose a document, ‘qualified’ electronic archiving will be necessary.
  • Otherwise it can be assumed, given the costs, that more general e-archiving will be used for less-critical documents, and ‘qualified’ e-archiving for the essential documents. Once the Digital Act is completely implemented, this will include all legal documents.


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