How Legal Are Digital Signatures?

Posted by Rachel Garvey on 9/8/11 3:21 PM

Are Digital Signatures Legal?

In the growing age of digital communication and the advent of virtual businesses, how can we address the ever present need for signatures on documents? While some businesses are obtaining these signatures the good old fashioned way - via snail mail - others are grabbing technology by the horns and implementing digital signature systems into their business platforms. But before you jump in head first, adding this concept into your organization's processes, you probably want to know the answer to this question, "Are digital signatures legal?"

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What Laws Govern Digital Signatures?

According to the U.S. ESIGN Act of 2000, an electronic signature can be defined as any electronic sound or process associated with a contract or other record, executed by the signatory with the intent to sign or execute. Similar language can be found in virtually any country; Canada, Europe, Asia. Based upon this legal language, digital signatures pack the same legal punch as the more traditional technique of ink and paper. It is important to note that electronic signatures can include both verbal confirmations via recordings, or in writing. Both methods must be executed and documented for the purpose of creating a legally binding document.

Building a Digital Signature Process

When designing a new digital signature process, it is important to consider three critical factors, including:

1.      Document creation and revision capabilities

2.      Document circulation, approval and execution capabilities

3.      Document archival and retrieval processes

As you give each of these processes consideration, be sure to choose a digital signature partner that provides these added benefits to ensure that your process is not only seamless, but legally binding.

  • Authentic - Does the platform offer a sense of credibility to the end user?
  • Integrity - Can the end user be assured that their signature and the final document can't be tampered with following execution and archival?
  • Non-Repudiation - Will either party have the ability to repudiate the validity of the document in the future?

Taking the time to not only consider the processes needed for your unique business, but choosing a partner such as SIGNiX that offers the added benefits needed to provide a legally binding process, will ensure that you are satisfied with this business procedural change.

If you would like even more information, CLICK HERE to download our whitepaper about ensuring compliance with digital signatures.

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