By Richard Bates, Acumen Data CEO
Digital signatures embedded in documents have become an essential part of e-business. Not to be confused with digital certificates, digital signatures allow you to verify that a document is genuine and that it has not been modified in any way.
Signatures are embedded securely while not visible on the image. If anybody attempts to tamper with the document, the signature is instantly removed. The signature ensures that the document cannot be modified while still allowing for distribution, access and archiving.
What is a Digital Signature?
A digital signature is an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate that the original content of the message or document that has been scanned/sent is unchanged. Digital signatures are easily transportable, cannot be imitated by someone else, and can be automatically time-stamped.
What is the legal standing of Digital Signatures in Australia?
“Section 10 of the Act allows a person to satisfy a legal requirement for a manual signature by using an electronic communication that contains a method that identifies the person and indicates their approval of the information communicated.
“The method by which a person is identified electronically is commonly called an ‘electronic signature’; however the choice of a particular method must be as reliable as appropriate in the circumstances. The legislation provides flexibility for people and businesses to determine the signature technology that is appropriate to their particular needs…”
The above statement is taken from the Attorney-General’s Department’s web site and is dated Wednesday, 3 May 2006.
What are the benefits of Digital Signatures?
Digital signatures allow you to verify a document is genuine and that it has not been modified in any way.
Compare this with a hard copy document. With a hard copy document and a good colour photocopier, you can modify the document and make a new copy replacing the original. If the document has a written signature it will remain intact.
Now let’s look at electronic files encrypted or password protected. If you have a document with password protection often you must provide the password before a person can view or print the document. The other problem with a password-protected or encrypted document is that it is difficult to archive with any confidence you will be able to restore it in the future.
The digital signatures that Acumen Data place on our scanned PDF documents work very easily. We place a tab in the PDF document which when clicked shows the “Original Digital Signature”.
If anybody attempts to tamper with the document the signature is instantly removed. The signature ensures that the document is not modified while not preventing distribution, access or archiving.
Share this Post