Law 41/2004 brings the Portuguese legal framework into line with the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, which reiterates the principle of confidentiality of electronic communications. Among other things, it introduces a mechanism for cooperation between electronic communications service providers, in order to ensure the security of services and of the network.
A new decree law has amended the Portuguese legal framework governing digital signatures in an attempt to harmonize it with EU regulations. The changes will incur additional short-term costs for companies, but should ultimately boost public confidence in the use of e-commerce and electronic communications.
Decree-Law 7/2004 has implemented the E-commerce Directive in Portugal. The decree-law recognizes the principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide information society services, while providing that all information society service providers established in Portugal will be subject to Portuguese law. Key issues regulated include electronic contracts and spam.
The Portuguese government is discussing two acts which will have a significant impact on the development of e-commerce in Portugal. One concerns the nomination of an accreditation entity to certify digital signatures, while the other defines the technical rules for the use of electronic invoices.
A National Initiative for Electronic Commerce has been created by the Council of Ministers. Its main objective is to define a legislative and regulatory framework that will encourage and develop e-commerce.