Legal Questions about Electronic Signatures

Q: Are electronic signatures legal?

A: Yes. In 2000, the USA signed the ESIGN Act making electronic signatures legal throughout the United States. The UK has adopted and implemented certain provisions of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive in the Electronic Communications Act 2000, which makes digital legally admissible in the UK. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 was amended in 2004 to further facilitate the electronic signing of credit agreements. The United Nations has also set an outline for its members on which to base similar legislation. Many countries have already created legislation to ensure that Electronic Signatures have the same legal authority as “ink” based signatures.

Key points of legal electronic signatures include:

1. Knowing who the parties are when they sign;

2. Having those parties agree to use electronic signatures and show they are technically capable of signing electronically;

3. Ensuring that each party who signs receives a copy of the electronically signed agreements (including the ability to re-verify those signatures electronically); and

4. Ensuring that a forged or tampered electronic agreement can be detected.

Q: Are electronic signatures proof of the person signing the agreement?

A: Yes. The laws related to Electronic Signatures have more stringent requirements than ink-based signatures.

Electronic Signatures require 4 main steps:

1. Knowing who the parties are when they sign;

2. Having those parties agree to use electronic signatures and show they are technically capable of signing electronically;

3. Ensuring that each party who signs receives a copy of the electronically signed agreements (including the ability to re-verify those signatures electronically); and

4. Ensuring that a forged or tampered electronic agreement can be detected.

The level of security in an electronic form is much higher than paper just by the nature of the media. For a paper agreement you only have a pen and a piece of paper; with an electronic agreement you have to have access to the signatory’s email account, the password for the person’s registered Electronic Signature, and access to the agreement to be signed.

Q: How do I know that my electronic signature has not been stolen electronically?

A: The only way your Electronic Signature could be stolen would be if you were to give the thief access to your email account and the password to your Agreement Express signature authentication. NEVER give your Agreement Express password to anyone - it is a legal signature.

Have more questions? Submit a request

0 Comments

Please sign in to leave a comment.