What are Electronic Documents (ED) and Signatures (ES)?
To understand what an Electronic Signature is to first have a handle on a regular signature. A regular signature is any symbol executed or accepted by a party or group with the goal to verify a mark or writing. The solution is that there is no requirement that there should be ink on paper, but instead confirms that it can be any symbol provided; the symbol is used with the intent of signing. This is why copies of signatures, blood, stamps or seals, and fingerprints can be used for signing on paper.
Now when we discuss Electronic Signature it can relate to a regular signature with some differences. Like a signature, electronic signature is an electronic mark that is related to the electronic record or data that is being noticed, such that the person or user has applied that symbol to indicate his intent to sign. It is important that the electronic symbol be connected specifically to the party or group who is signing, that there's evidence the symbol was applied with intent to sign, that the data being signed can be proven to be the unique data and be such that both or multi parties have a signature are allowed to have their own copies. Some example are checking or clicking a box stating that you agree, Typing your name or initials, visiting certain cites and etc.
An electronic document usually are delivered in two forms, either the subject file in which it was created or an image file that’s created by scanning an original paper document. Over 70% of all corporate data exists solely in electronic formats. A large part is due to the growing custom of e-mailing documents as e-mail attachments.
Why is ES important?
Why should we pay more attention to Electronic Signatures? The reason is over the past few years an increased number of people are starting to become more interested in e-commerce. More and more transactions are performed with electronic signature to guarantee for the legal validity of a document. It is said in today’s society, businesses have shown an increase in saving money when it to having the ability on speedy delivery of writings that provide information. For them, the digital signature has brought a lot of advantages and security when dealing with business transactions.
Many social networks that many young people are part of today rely on social networks. In many of the social networks there are agreements, mostly privacy policies and public policies that require signatures from the user. The most efficient way is to sign it electronically.
What law protects ES?
There a few laws in the United States that deals with Electronic Signatures that started around 1995. One of the first laws was the Utah Digital Signature Act of 1995, which focused on the narrow set of Digital Signature Technologies based on PKI. But California was not on the board with this law because technology advances so quickly, plus PKI solutions was very expensive. So California decided to go with a minimalist and technology neutral approach, which became the foundation of the U.S.E-Signature Act.
The U.S.E-Signature Act was passed by President Bill Clinton, which provided certain disclosure are provided and the necessary requirements of electronic signatures. It also provides examples of documents that cannot have digital signature such as wills, codicils, testamentary trusts, adoptions, divorce or other matters of family law, court orders or notices used in connection with court proceedings, notices of cancellation of utilities, foreclosures, repossession, eviction, cancellation of health or life insurance, product recalls, documents related to handling hazardous materials and other such serious documents.
In the healthcare field there is a law known as Health insurance Portability and Accountability, which was overseen by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. I know when people usually think about hospitals and clinics; But lawyers dealing with medical issues, health insurance companies, clearinghouses and all individuals who seek medical treatment. The real purpose of this is to protect everyone private health information. This law also specifies transaction code sets, security procedures, and privacy consideration.
Last but not lease the Food and Drugs Administration known as Title 21 Code of Federal Regulation Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures. It simply gives guidance for electronic records and signatures in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices, radiological health, food, cosmetics and veterinary medicine fields.
What does the future look like when it comes to ES?
Many transactions, especially business transactions will require electronic signatures due to the fact that no one can tamper with it. Also many websites, software and programs have licensing agreements which requires a third party to sign. Many of these third parties are long-distance or international parties and would takes weeks for someone to mail the documents to them. It is better to have the document online to make sure that the third party can sign and begin the terms to their agreements.