Create a digital ID with Adobe Acrobat
Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:43 AM
Consider that anyone can obtain an image of your signature easily, and can create an Adobe ID without any 3rd party validation. Because it is so easy to create a signature, and nobody validates me, it would be next to impossible to prove the signature was the act of a specific person.
This method works for aesthetic signing, but would not work for much more than that.
If you want to rely on an electronically signed document, you will need to show much more than an image of a signature. This can be accomplished by obtaining a digital certificate which requires you notarize and present your actual credentials. The challenge there is cost and complexity.
In addition, the Federal ESIGN act requires a number of other things be true such as content control, intent, consumer consent, & retention.
The Adobe method has been around for a very long time and has really never taken off due to technical challenges, and lack of complete contract signing process management.
The new way to execute contracts online is to use 3rd party ESIGN services such as DocuSign, where the whole transaction is managed securely end-end. DocuSign provides multiple levels of authentication, and allows you to sign any type of file format using only your browser - not requiring expensive Adobe software.
Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:51 PM
Reason for my interest in this post is that there are lots of blogs out there telling folks to 'just past an image of their signature' into a document, and you'll have an 'electronic signature'. This article was put together much better, and discussed more than this.
I don't want to imply that pasting your signature into a contract or even just typing your name does not create a legally binding contract - It might if the right surrounding conditions are met. However, it also might not be enforceable...
I wanted to point out that adherence to the Federal ESIGN act, or a state's UETA laws involve more rigor than the article described to increase the chance the contract will be enforceable, and that there are services available like DocuSign that manage all of those surrounding circumstances like authentication, encryption, & process control to make it much more likely that the contract will have a lower risk profile.
There are whole range of ESIGN services available today from low end offers to high end systems like DocuSign. It might be an interesting blog/article to compare and contrast these services in light of the requirements set forth by ESIGN to create a legally binding and enforceable electronic contract.
Posted 17 August 2009 - 03:06 PM
I agree. Since Macworld raised the issue it would be appropriate for them to expand on the subject beyond the Adobe Acrobat solution which, apparently, has limited value.
Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:35 AM
I was drawn to this article because the headline implied that there would be some sort of verification/security process, but instead boils down to: choose "add signature" from Adobe's menu, and put a picture of your signature (thanks, I can do that in Photoshop too).
I'll check out DocuSign immediately and see if it is suitable for my small business needs. Thanks!