Overview

Electronic and certificate-based digital signatures are not widely used in Cambodia as the practical and legal knowledge surrounding their use is still limited. The country’s only regulation governing their use is Sub-Decree No.246 on Digital Signatures, issued by the Royal Government of Cambodia (“Sub-Decree No. 246”) which was enacted in 2017.

Sub-Decree No.246 governs “Digital Signatures” which are defined as “any data attached to the electronic message certifying the digital signatory and verifying the authentication of such electronic message signed by the digital signatory”.

To be valid, a Digital Signature must be issued by a Certified Authority or trust services provider licensed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia, and meet the following requirements:

  1. It must certify the accurate and specific Digital Signatory’s identity.
  2. It must certify the authenticity of the mail attached with such Digital Signature.
  3. It must certify the time and date of the signing of the Digital Signature.
  4. It must satisfy any other conditions required by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. (There is no specific information about these conditions, but if the first three requirements are met, the Digital Signature is likely to be acceptable to the regulator.)

Sub-Decree No.246 does not discuss simple electronic signatures that do not meet the above criteria. However, in common with other jurisdictions, Cambodian law does not expressly state that an agreement is invalid solely on the grounds that it was formed with a non-recognised electronic signature.

Judges and magistrates are not well acquainted with the implementation or enforcement of electronic or digital signatures. In practice they still prefer conventional “wet” signatures.


Special considerations

There is no law or regulation that specifically stipulates the acceptability of cloud-based or remote electronic signatures in Cambodia. However, Sub-Decree No.246 prohibits another person’s private key being stored anywhere without written authorization from the owner of the Certificate of Digital Signature.

Cambodia has no specific laws or regulations concerning data residency in general or the storage and processing of electronic signature data outside the country.

There are no restrictions in Cambodian law on when Digital Signatures can be used. Sub-Decree No.246 states that “an electronic message attached with Digital Signature as verified by Certified Authority has the same legal equivalence as a written letter”. A written letter is defined by the sub-decree as any letter in paper form that has, or is required to have:

  1. a signature or thumbprint;
  2. signature or thumbprint and name;
  3. signature or thumbprint and stamp;
  4. name and stamp; or signature or
  5. thumbprint, name, and stamp.

Letters, contracts, deeds and other documents that fall under this description which have been attached with a Digital Signature as verified by a Certified Authority could, therefore, be signed and executed electronically.

There are no special requirements or restrictions for using digital signatures with government entities in Cambodia.

According to Sub-Decree No.246, all online financial transactions shall use digital signatures, unless stipulated otherwise by the inter-ministerial decision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the National Bank of Cambodia.

Note:

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