Slovakia promotes government-provided electronic mailboxes as a way for citizens and businesses to communicate with public authorities. The motivation for introducing electronic mailboxes is more efficient and faster communication with public administration.
The introduction of electronic mailboxes follows Slovakia’s Act on e-Government. Mailboxes are created by the Office of the Government for private individuals, legal entities, public authorities, and entities that are subject to international law. The system of electronic mailboxes also covers cities and municipalities.
Mailboxes for individuals are automatically created for Slovak citizens when they reach 18 years of age. Civic associations and non-profit organizations will have to wait for their own electronic mailboxes, because their data on the state register of companies is inaccurate or incomplete as of mid-October 2016.
Mailboxes for legal entities and other registered organisations are activated when they are first accessed by an authorised person after August 1, 2016. Failing that, they will become active by January 1, 2017 at the latest.
Only one electronic mailbox is created for each entity, and no fee is charged. In the event that a physical person is also an entrepreneur or a public authority, or if a public authority is also a legal entity that does not exercise public power, a separate electronic mailbox is set up for each of these legal roles. A typical example of a single person with multiple mailboxes is a notary, who will have two mailboxes: one as a physical person and the other as a public authority.
Accessibility - an electronic mailbox allows official documents and applications to be filed from one‘s home or office; you need only a computer, access to the Internet, appropriate software, and an ID card with a chip and a personal security code. An ID card with an electronic contact chip, known as an eID card, is a new type of identity card that the Slovak government has issued from December 2, 2013. As with previous types of ID cards, the eID card proves a citizen’s identity during personal contact with the authorities, but has the added function of fulfilling the same role for Internet-based eGovernment services.
Accompanying the eID card is a six-digit personal security code. This is used together with the ID chip to confirm each citizen’s identity when communicating electronically with public authorities, organisations and other citizens.
Financial savings – the fee for an electronic filing is only half as much as for the same service in paper form.
Time savings - documents can be filed at any time of day, without waiting in line or being limited by office hours.
Security - the electronic mailboxes use similar security principles to those of electronic banking. Delivery is guaranteed by law.
Notifications – users receive notifications of both dispatch and delivery.
Receiving an identity card and setting up a personal security code does not oblige anyone to use the available electronic services. If a citizen does not use his or her personal security code, it can be blocked at any time. In addition to the card, accessing government e-services requires dedicated software installed on a computer, plus a smart-card reader. The software is available for free download from the website of the Ministry of Interior or the central public administration portal. Drivers for the card reader can be obtained directly from the manufacturer. Supported platforms include Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (Ubuntu, Debian).
When an identity card with a chip is issued, citizens can request (free of charge) three certificates to be stored on the chip. Each of these takes the form of a qualified digital certificate (ACA), from which it is possible to create a qualified electronic signature (QES), a signing certificate using electronic signatures, and an encryption certificate (SCA). The signing certificate needs a 6-digit PIN and an 8-digit PUK code.
To create a certified electronic signature for electronic filings sent through the www.slovensko.sk portal, the user must have the D.Signer/XAdES application installed, as well as the appropriate qualified digital certificate on their identity card.
Electronic mailboxes for companies will have to be activated by directors or statutory agents by January 2017. A mailbox is automatically activated upon first login. However, at this point (autumn 2016), very few companies are prepared to accept the delivery of official documents to their mailboxes. The problem is that many company representatives have not yet applied for the necessary electronic identity cards and personal security codes.
Items that must be accounted for in the overall cost include the purchase of one of the recommended smart-card readers.
It is also important to realise the consequence of the fact that the mailbox is automatically activated when an administrative or court decision is delivered. If the legal entity in question fails to check its mailbox regularly, an important legal decision may become valid without the entity knowing about it.
Delivery to an electronic mailbox is legally equivalent to a delivery via physical mail. This means that official mail is deemed to be delivered even if company representatives fail to read it. Messages, including electronic documents, are considered delivered on the day after their receipt to the mailbox. Users can configure notifications of new mail by e-mail or SMS. They can also authorise another person to access their mailbox.
It will not generally be possible to deactivate a corporate mailbox. Company mailboxes will be deactivated only when a company ceases to exist and is deleted from the Commercial Register.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, by August 31, 2016 1,661,379 people were in possession of an identity card with an electronic chip of the type issued as an authentication device for all e-services provided by the state since December 2013. Of these, 275,309 had activated their personal security code, and 102,715 had also requested certificates for a qualified electronic signature.