ISO Sets Standard for Embedding LEIs in Digital Certificates

Simplified LEI integration paves the way for all digital certificates to be linked by a universal identifier and reduces the resource burden on certificate issuers.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has defined a standard approach for Certification Authorities to embed Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs) within digital certificates.

Details outlining the process have been included in ISO 17442, which specifies the minimum reference data that must be supplied for each LEI. Following a revision in early August, a new section was published specifying a standardised way of embedding the LEI code in digital certificates.

Currently, entity reference data included in digital certificates (e.g. name, legal form and address) is often embedded in text strings that require manual checks to verify data accuracy. With LEIs embedded in certificates, entity data no longer needs to be included, as LEIs are linked to entity reference data which is verified and freely accessible on a repository hosted by the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF).

GLEIF which was established by the FSB (Financial Stability Board) in June 2014 to support LEI implementation and use. The proposal for standardising the process of embedding LEIs in digital certificates was brought to ISO by GLEIF, as part of its efforts to broaden the relevance of the LEI in a digital context and drive LEI adoption across the private sector.

The move to simplify LEI integration paves the way for all digital certificates to be linked by a universal identifier, making certificates easier to manage, aggregate and maintain, and providing greater overall transparency, GLEIF said in a press statement.

“Entities commonly hold multiple certificates from different certificate schemes and issuers, resulting in records being held in multiple silos by a variety of organisations globally. The LEI can be used as a common ‘link’ between all certificates to facilitate their management and aggregation.”

This will reduce the resource burden on certificate issuers, ensure consistency across certificates, and carry the reassurance of being verified by LEI issuers, GLEIF says.

In addition, changes to entity reference data which occur during a digital certificate’s lifetime (e.g. address or ownership change) will no longer necessitate the revocation and reissuance of digital certificates.

“This development is a critical milestone in our mission to extend the relevance and adoption of the LEI beyond regulatory use cases,” said GLEIF CEO Stephan Wolf. The standardisation of LEI integration in digital certificates is “a huge advancement” and points to widespread recognition of the benefits that LEI adoption can deliver to the digital certificate ecosystem, he added.

GLEIF encourages all Certification Authorities to consider integrating LEIs within digital certificates as a matter of priority, to expedite the associated benefits.

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