Electronic signatures and the law

Electronic signatures and the law
When it comes to electronic signature and the law, you need to ensure that you adhere to regulations in your country. Electronic signatures are set to grow significantly in the years to come. The question often arises: are they legally enforceable?
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When it comes to electronic signature and the law, you need to ensure that you adhere to regulations in your country. Electronic signatures are set to grow significantly in the years to come. The question often arises: are they legally enforceable? Almost all Western countries have enacted legislation making electronic signatures admissible to court. Billion-dollar companies do nothing other than providing electronic signature software. Most of us use electronic signatures even though we might not be aware we’re doing it. Think about one-click Amazon purchases, for example.

There are regional variations in terms of legislation and how different jurisdictions treat electronic signatures. Here are some of the main one’s :

Electronic Signature and the Law Around the Globe

USA

The ESIGN Act of 2000 made electronic signatures legal in every US state. Some strict compliance requirements are summarized well here.

EU

The EU has a single framework for electronic signatures and identification. The rather awfully named eIDAS legislation ensures that all EU member states recognize esignatures.

The legislation sets out that electronic signatures “shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility in a legal proceeding solely on the ground that is it an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified signature.” 

There are further complexities around “advanced” and “qualified” signatures. You can only create qualified signatures when users have devices that enable greater security, such as the Estonian ID card. The vast majority of electronic signatures in Europe are “Advanced.”

UK

For now, the UK still falls under EU legislation. This may change in the post-Brexit world, but it doesn’t look likely in the short term.

Australia

Electronic Transactions, or ET, Legislation gives life to electronic signatures in Oz. There are three key requirements to make a signature valid. These are identification, reliability, and consent. You can find more information right here.

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