The Legal Implications of Digital Signatures: Is a Digital Signature a Legal Signature?

It should be clear by now that a digital signature can provide the following technical security properties: authentication, data integrity, and (in some cases) non-repudiation. A digital signature is a security mechanism. Its meaning in the real world is something else entirely.

A digital signature may be used to create a legal signature, but only if proper procedures are followed. For a digital signature to create the effect of a legal signature, the following must be done:

  • The signer must view the entire document (or data to be signed).

  • The signer must intend to authenticate the document to be signed.

  • The document must be digitally signed in the proper form ...

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