Legality of Electronic Signatures

Over the past decade, the upward trend is countries adopting laws supporting Electronic Signatures or Digital (certificate/PKI-based authenticated) Signatures.

With the advent of Electronic Signatures, it’s important to understand global protocol, implement effective guidelines, and use e-Signatures to their fullest potential.

Use the below Whitepapers as a resource to learn about legality of e-Signatures across the United States and the world, as well as to get tips for developing an effective e-Signature policy.

“E-signatures are fast becoming an integral part of our business landscape. Leading companies today, even in the most conservative and regulated industries such as, financial services and healthcare, are rapidly adopting e-Signatures to accelerate key business processes.”

“Only Digital Signatures can provide true non-repudiation. For very high-value transactions and mission-critical processes, the best practice is to use PKI, which strongly authenticates the user and provides the ‘gold standard’ of the e-Signing world: Digital Signatures. Using Digital Signatures to e-Sign documents provides the highest level of integrity and nonrepudiation over time.”

Forrester Research, Inc.

Are Electronic Signatures Legal?

The answer to that is, it depends on where you are doing business.

In 27 countries — including China, the United States, Russia, Australia, Canada and those in the European Union –Electronic Signatures are legally binding. We strongly believe in the security of electronic signatures, but we also strongly recommend that you research the laws concerning Digital or Electronic Signatures in your country. If you live in a country that hasn’t passed legislation yet, you may fall under a gray area of the law and your e-Signature will be accepted on many, if not most, contracts. However it may not be legally binding in the court of law. We do not recommend using e-Signature blindly — you or your lawyer need to know your country’s policies.

Now, if you are in a country that considers e-Signatures as equal to wet signatures, we say go for it, but be cautious. Simply signing on the dotted digital line does not mean its binding. You need a trusted, certified software provider for e-Signature, like to be sure it’ll hold up in court.

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