Many businesses are using electronic signatures (e-signatures) these days. But are they accepted and how reliable are they?
Australia recognizes both electronic signatures and digital signatures. There is no actual law stating that either digital or e-signatures must be accepted but that any document signed in this manner is not ‘invalidated’. This means, by default, that e-signatures are recognized as evidence in a court.
What is the difference between an e-signature and a digital signature?
Electronic Signature: It can be a symbol, sound or process which is attached to a document to indicate the intent of a person to sign the document. Often it is in the form of a digital image of a handwritten signature.
Digital Signature: Is essentially an electronic ‘fingerprint’ in the form of a coded message that is unique to both the person signing and the document. This is a method of ensuring both the authenticity of the signer and their intent to sign.
The Digital Signature is a stronger and more universally accepted means of signing a document due to the accountability and data integrity.
What are the requirements for e-signatures?
To be able to rely on e-signatures, you need to be able to:
- Show you can identify the signer and that they agreed to the document they were signing, and
- Show that the means or method you attached the signature with was reliable, secure and appropriate.
Although Australia recognizes both e-signatures and digital, the digital signature will be a stronger form of evidence in the event of any legal situation.
To read the full article, click here.