In today’s world, digitalization has had an impact on practically every aspect of human endeavour, and this is no longer a newsworthy development.
Even when compared to the Stone Age, the internet has advanced significantly, allowing for anything from online banking to online shopping to be done.
As a result of the digitization of financial transactions and the proliferation of online purchases, we now have electronic signature software, often known as E-signatures.
What Is the Purpose of an e-Signature?
It is possible to certify your agreement with a piece of writing using an e-signature, which is a digital version of your inked signature, without the need for an actual signature. An e-signature is a digital version of your inked signature.
It is possible to sign an electronic signature in a variety of methods, including using a free electronic signature, which is the primary difference between an e-signature and an inked signature.
It is possible to sign an e-signature using an e-signing tool, which allows the user to either click or draw the e-signature with a mouse.
Acceptance or rejection of papers based on electronic signatures does not necessarily imply legal approval or rejection; acceptance or rejection is dependent on a range of circumstances, which we shall discuss in greater detail in the following portion of this article.
Even though it is used in Google Drive, you may learn how to add a signature in Google Docs by searching for “How to add a signature in Google Docs” on Google or YouTube.
Is Legal Approval Accessible for Electronic Signatures?
Electronic signatures are becoming increasingly common, and as a result, they are gaining widespread acceptance.
Electronic signatures are actually legally binding in the United States, most third-world countries, as well as other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom.
However, one concern still remains: Does the appearance of an e-signature on a document affect the legality of electronic signatures?
A document signed electronically has the same potential validity as a document signed with ink in some circumstances, notwithstanding the fact that there is no definitive solution to this subject. However, in order to be regarded as legally binding, an e-signature document must contain three essential characteristics. The following are some illustrations:
- Confirm the signatory’s personal information
Before any document including an e-signature may be recognised as legally binding, it is necessary to confirm the identity of the person who signed the document.
When it is possible, electronic identification cards, text messages, and email can all be used to confirm the identity of a signatory to a document.
It is crucial to emphasise at this point that none of the verification methods mentioned above is totally secure.
- What was signed, and why was it purpose?
The second component that determines the legal status of an electronic signature is the content of the document that was signed with an electronic signature.
To begin with, while determining whether or not a document bearing an electronic signature is legally enforceable, the signatory’s intent must be taken into consideration.
After the document has been signed by all parties, and the final signatory has provided an electronic signature to indicate their approval of the document’s content, it becomes legally binding.
A document is said to be legally binding after it has been signed by all parties involved and the final signature has been uploaded electronically to express agreement with the document’s content.
- Another factor to address is how to ensure the integrity of an electronically signed document
When looking for evidence that an e-integrity signature has not been altered since it was signed, it is possible to identify it.
After all parties have signed a document using an electronic signature, the document must be retained in its original form and must not be altered in any way.
Electronic signatures generated using a public key infrastructure (PKI) must be hashed and signed using an asymmetric encryption key pair in order to be considered authentic.
When even minor changes are made, the hash value of the document will change completely, preserving the document’s integrity and making it possible to determine whether or not particular edits have been made.
The United States of America
It is not all eSignature systems that are equal in their capabilities. In the United States, the DocuSign electronic signature solution complies with the definition of an electronic signature set out in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).
The Electronic Communications Act 2000, which was passed in the United Kingdom in 2000, was the comparable law to the ESIGN Act passed in the United States. Under the terms of this legislation, DocuSign warrants that its electronic eSignature solution conforms with the definition of an electronic signature set out in the act.
European Union (EU)
This directive (1999/93/EC), which was passed in 1999, was abolished by the European Parliament in 2014, with the purpose of creating a more homogeneous, pan-European market for electronic transactions. The EU Regulation No 910/2014 on electronic identity and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market, often known as eIDAS, was adopted as a substitute for the directive. Electronic signatures are currently in widespread usage in Europe, and DocuSign eSignatures are compliant with the eIDAS and EU electronic signature technical requirements, as well as other international standards.
In the end, it is important to remember the following:
Despite the fact that e-signature is becoming increasingly popular, there are still some questions about the legal status and validity of a document that has been signed electronically.
It is necessary for an electronic signature to meet a number of standards in order to be regarded as legally binding. The following is a list of the specifications that were developed.
Some of these include checking the signer’s identification, ensuring that the substance and intent of a document have not been altered, and ultimately ensuring that an online e-signature software has not been tampered with or altered in any way after it has been generated.
If any of the components listed above are missing from an e-signature document, the document will not be recognised or considered in court.