Our emotional attachment to handwritten signatures is strong. It is part of our personal identity, culture and hundreds years of history. Thus, getting a pen out of the pocket when in need to sign is as natural as a reflex of asking a celebrity for an autograph. The symbolism of signing a contract with an expensive pen and coated paper remains strong. However it is clear that this traditional method of expressing personal and corporate approval is ripe for reform.
Important transactions are now common online, not only for high value banking transactions and card payments but also for day-to-day operations, contracts, e-commerce, tax declarations and insurance. We think it’s time to go fully digital and adopt convenient forgery-resistant electronic signatures and save time and resources along the journey of becoming paperless.
Let us show you how
At LuxTrust, we can generate qualified electronic signatures. When a “qualified” e-signature is attached, it guarantees that only this document has been approved. If anyone changes one letter or punctuation mark, the signature is no longer valid. Compare this to a written contract, where replacing entire pages is easy. All the more so if it is a blurry fax.
An electronic signature is:
- Provides means to trace it to the owner with high assurance
- Cannot be forged
- Cannot be reused for other documents or transactions
- Proves that document has not been altered
- Cannot be denied by a person or organization after signing
- Includes a qualified proof of time
- Complies to EU technical standards
- And most of all has a strong legal effect across the EU member states
How does it work?
When you electronically sign a document, our system creates a piece of code that works as a summary of this document and is embedded in the signature. This code consists of a unique series of characters (known as a “hash”) and data from a digital identity certificate (issued by a trusted certification authority). Make the merest change in the document, and this will change the hash and invalidate the signature.
So what does an e-signature look like?
Fundamentally, an e-signature is totally different from the standard autograph. Looking at the signature panel reveals a series of numbers and letters.
Beware of how unusual this appears, most software vendors have added a visual element, such as a graphic illustration of each individual’s signature (see below). This doesn’t matter for legal purposes, nor does it improve security per se, but it adds an extra layer of comfort when people are unused to this way of working.
For too long, we have put up with cumbersome, unprofessional techniques for approving contracts. Cutting and pasting scanned signatures is no way to do business. The era of qualified electronic signatures has arrived.
In one of our next blog entries, we will address how you can check the validity of e-signatures.