Most Electronic Signatures Are Not Legally Binding

In one of our earlier blogs, we explained the three (3) required criteria: authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation which are required for any legally binding electronic signatures.  Unfortunately to no fault of a document originator or the signer of a document, most of the electronic signature services provided by some of the biggest electronic signature providers to the smallest, and most of the free electronic signature providers are not legally binding.

Why you ask?

The reason is simple.  Because we’re simply asking the wrong question.

Let’s start with authenticity. Most of the time, the number one question asked is… “How do you know the person who’s signing is the person who should be signing?”   Before we answer that question, let’s simply look at the way business is done today, and let me ask you a question first.  How are you sending documents to be signed today?  Are you faxing them?  Are you emailing them? Are you using a courier, USPS, or FedEx?  And if you are, when you receive a signed document today from any of the methods I just mentioned, how do you know the person who signed it is in fact that person.  Couldn’t anyone have signed that document?

In the case with DocVerify, we go above and beyond the traditional way, because in the electronic world we can collect lots of data that can prove that he or she is the person in question.   We have quite a few countermeasures in place, and they range anywhere from an email address to an actual voice print.  It’s pretty hard to try to say that’s not your voice.

So, now that we’ve answered that question, let’s ask the question we should be asking every provider.  How do I know that the document I signed is in fact the same document?  Anyone could’ve easily taken your electronic signature, placed it in or on the document, or even worse, changed or altered the electronically signed document.  Again, there’s no disputing that that’s your signature, but is that really the document you electronically signed?  In fact, Adobe Acrobat has many tools built right into it that would allow even the most novice person to quickly and easily change any PDF document.  Please check out our DocVerify YouTube channel where we demonstrate how easy it is to change a PDF document.

In the world of electronic signatures, you must do your due diligence when looking for the right provider.  If you go with a provider simply because they’re the biggest or the cheapest without validating what we just talked about, your electronically signed documents may be invalid according to the law because if it can be changed or altered then it fails the integrity criteria.

DocVerify started out as an electronic document security company, and in fact our expertise is in the area of document integrity.  DocVerify can prove when a document was created, where it was created from, who created it, and that the document is in fact the document in question.  Our patent pending 7 layers of protection not only protects the electronic copy, but also the hard copies too.  DocVerify even has watermarking technologies built right into each and every DocVerify-ed document, that in the event the document is tampered with, you will know instantly.  How many electronic signature providers can say that?  We not only utilize digital signatures, but we also utilize several different types of hashing and encryption technologies that helps protect every single document.  Even if we no longer have a copy of the document in our electronic vault, we can still prove its integrity.  Why settle for anything less?  Just make sure you ask the right questions…  Can you prove that’s the document I signed and that it has never changed or been altered?  And if so… Demand them to Prove It!

Please also take a look at Bruno Lowagie’s blog about how easily electronic signatures can be altered or changed, and how watch him demonstrate it too.

http://lowagie.com/fakesig

http://lowagie.com/esignatures4dummies

For more information please go to www.docverify.com

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4 thoughts on “Most Electronic Signatures Are Not Legally Binding

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