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What Counts As An Esignature


Doing jobs and tasks online is also beneficial to our business too. One area that has made major in-roads in terms of convenience, whilst adding legal weight to our business relationships, is the electronic signature. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What Counts As An Esignature

What Counts As An Esignature?
Here we are in 2016 and we can do pretty much
everything online. We can buy groceries, those
cool boots we have been wanting for weeks, even
get a doctor to diagnose that itch we got when we
went on holiday last month. It is useful being
able to do stuff online. It saves us time, and
its just convenient. Doing jobs and tasks
online is also beneficial to our business too.
One area that has made major in-roads in terms of
convenience, whilst adding legal weight to our
business relationships, is the electronic
signature. This post will take a look at what an
electronic signature or esignature is, where you
can and cant use electronic signatures, what
makes an esignature legal, and some other tricky
questions that enquiring minds ask. What Exactly
Is An Esignature? When you create a contract
with another person or company, you sign off the
contract using a signature from all parties. In
the past this was a pen and ink signature.
Pen and Ink Notaries often oversee the
signature process and check that the signatory is
who they say they are using identifying
documents, like passports. Pen and ink signatures
are on hard copy paper. If you made changes to
the document, theyd have to stand up in court if
challenged. The persons signature itself can be
checked as their true signature, against other
copies of their writing and signatures. A hard
copy paper signed document has to be sent to each
signatory, or have all signatories come together
to sign it.
ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE A method to authenticate
the signatory, i.e. identify them uniquely, this
is usually a digital certificate which is an
electronic way of identifying someone The
document content is hashed by the esigning
software product. Hashing creates a unique
fingerprint of the content. If that fingerprint
changes at any time, e.g. someone tries to change
a clause in the contract, the hash changes with
it and this can be identified by the signature
software The electronic signature of a person is
made using a digital certificate issued by a
certificate authority (CA). The CA checks a
persons identity. You can see who the signatory
is by looking at the public key of their digital
certificate that was used to sign the document.
The certificate encrypts the hash of the document
when the signature is applied tying the
signature and the document together Multiple
electronic signatures can be applied to a
document remotely and from a central place this
is one of the big advantages that using an
electronic signature product like ApproveMe gives
The mechanisms shown above mean that electronic
signatures carry as much weight as a pen and ink
signature. They offer protection that the
document hasnt been changed after signing. Some
solutions, like ApproveMe will give you an audit
trail of signing events, showing who has signed,
their identity, IP address and so on you cant
get that from a pen an ink signature. When Would
You Use an Electronic Signature? So, now you
have a way of signing an electronic document,
that is equivalent to a pen and ink signature,
when would you use an electronic signature?In
2000 the U.S. government passed a federal law,
the Electronic Signatures in Global and National
Commerce Act also known as ESIGN. This law gave
electronic signatures the same level of legal
protection as pen and ink signatures. Now we have
a law covering the use of an electronic signature
it means we can use them on a variety of
contracts. However, this is where a caveat comes
in. When you choose an electronic signing
solution, it needs to be one that has been
designed and built to the requirements of
the ESIGN law. Some signing solutions do not
conform to ESIGN, and if you end up in a dispute
over a contract that was signed using a
non-compliant solution, you may not be able to
argue your case.
Other parts of the world have their own esigning
laws. In Europe, for example, this is EU
Directive 1999/93/EC. What Contracts Cant Be
Signed With An Esignature? Its simpler to say
which contracts cant be signed electronically
than which can, as in the main, electronic
signatures are accepted on most contract types.
The sorts of contracts and documents that cant
be electronically signed are those needed
for Wills Trusts Adoption Divorce Official court
document and court orders What Counts as an
Electronic Signature? There are different types
of esignatures. You could simply add an image of
your written signature to a document. But this
isnt counted as an electronic signature as the
signature and the document could be easily
manipulated. Electronic signatures have to be
intrinsically tied, in some manner, to the
document itself. To make an esignature legal, you
need to have in place a way to identify the
signer electronically, a way to validate the
signature, and a method of ensuring the document
hasnt changed since signing.
Identifying the signer To electronically sign a
document the signatory needs to be identified.
This is usually in the form of a digital
certificate. You can get digital certificates,
online from certificate authorities.
Certificates have two parts, a private and a
public key. The private key of the certificate is
used to add the signature to the document
encrypting the hash made from the document
content the public key can be viewed by anyone
to check the signers identity. Validate the
signature Checks need to be in place to make
sure the signature is tied to the person. You
should be able to see all signature details using
an audit trail, including, the signers name, when
it was signed, and even their IP
address. Checking the document hasnt
changed The signing software is used to hash
the document (create the unique fingerprint).
When a signature is checked, the hash is compared
and if it has changed, the signature becomes
When you use an electronic signature, it replaces
your hand written signature. Although you may add
an image of your signature to an electronically
signed document, you dont have to, and it
certainly doesnt need to look like your
handwritten signature. Electronic signing is
something that is taking over the pen and ink
signature. Esigning platforms, like ApproveMe,
give you effective digital signing that makes the
document signing ceremony a much more seamless
and integrated process. You dont need to spend
large amounts of time chasing up signatories, and
you have a signed contract at the end that you
can feel confident about and will stand up in a
court of law. Article Resource https//www.appro
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