Electronic Commerce

The field of e-commerce in Cyprus is regulated by the Law on Certain Legal Aspects of Information Society Services, in Particular Electronic Commerce and Associated Matters of 2004, Law 156(I)/2004 (The Electronic Commerce Law). The Law has been enacted on the 30th April, 2004 for the purpose of implementing Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 8th of June, 2000, on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce in the Internal Market.

The Electronic Commerce Law aims at ensuring the free movement of information society services between the Republic and the Member States of the European Union relating to the establishment of service providers, commercial communications, the conclusion of electronic contracts, the liability of intermediaries, codes of conduct, out-of-court dispute settlements, means of legal protection and the cooperation between Member States.

Also, it provides legal certainty for business and consumers alike. It establishes regulations on issues such as the transparency and information requirements for online service providers, commercial communications, electronic contracts and limitations of liability of intermediary service providers.

Examples of services covered by the Law include online information services (such as online newspapers), online selling of products and services (books, financial services and travel services), online advertising, professional services (lawyers, doctors, estate agents), entertainment services and basic intermediary services (access to the Internet and transmission and hosting of information). These services also include, services which are provided free of charge to the recipient and funded, for example, by advertisments or sponsorship.

Electronic Signatures

The principal legislation in Cyprus governing electronic signatures is the Legal Framework for Electronic Signatures and Associated Matters Law of 2004 (Law 188(I)/2004) which implements Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999.

The rapid technological development and the global character of the Internet require an approach which is open to various technologies and services capable of authenticating data electronically. This law effectively establishes the legal framework governing electronic signatures and certification-services for enabling the use of electronic signatures and their legal recognition. This law does not affect the conclusion and validity of contracts or other legal obligations which are governed by requirements in regards to their form.

Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Person)

The Law on Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Person) of 2001 (Law 138(I)/2001 as amended), regulates the automated processing of personal data to be included in a record, entailing every work or series of works which is accomplished by any person with or without the help of automated methods and which is applied to personal data. It includes the collection, filing, organisation, preservation, storage, alteration, export, usage, transfer, dissemination or any other form of disposal, alignment or combination, interconnection, blocking, erasing or destruction.

The law is primarily addressed to the processing of personal data for the purpose of the promotion of goods and services. The Law provides that personal data cannot be processed by anyone for purposes of direct marketing when concerning the provision of services remotely, unless the data subject notifies his/her written consent to the data controller or if the data has been obtained from sources accessible to the public.

Electronic Money Institutions

The Electronic Money Institutions Law of 2004 (Law 86(I)/2004) entered into force on 16th April 2004, for the purpose of adopting Directive 2000/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the initiating, pursuit and prudential supervision of the activities of credit institutions mainly in regards to the issuance of electronic money. Electronic money can be considered an electronic surrogate for coins and banknotes, which is stored on an electronic device such as a chip card or computer memory drive, which is generally intended for the purpose of effecting electronic payments of limited amounts.

Domain Names

As of the 5th of September 2005, legislation has been introduced by the Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulation (OCECPR) in relation to the registration of Domain Names with the .CY. Top Level Domain Registry in an attempt to secure adherence to the Cyprus legislation, international treaties, the ICANN Dispute Policy and the European Union. In accordance to this the University of Cyprus is now the authorised administrator of the .CY Top Level Domain Registry.

Any person or company may apply for up to ten domain names provided that the administrative contact listed in the registration form must provide proof that he/she is a Cypriot Citizen or that he/she is a permanent resident of Cyprus.

Cyprus applies the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy as adopted by ICANN and in case of a dispute a mediation is initiated. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation the parties are free to initiate proceedings within Cyprus Courts.