What are Electronic Signatures?
Anyone who is not accustomed to this may feel confused on what electronic signature is about and to how the different types of e-signature is different in regards to legality and evidential power. At basic level, any mark on electronic document could be used in capturing the intent of the signer to either accept or approve the content of that particular document. The form of mark or how it’s created isn’t what is important. Rather, the most important part is to prove who have made the mark and that the document wasn’t changed.
As you read this article, you are going to learn about the types of electronic signatures used in today’s time.
Number 1. Click-to-Sign signatures – in most cases, this consists of scanned images, typed names, e-squiggles as well as tick boxes. When you make use of this category of signature, there is no cryptographic protection for the document. With this being said, these signatures are not enough to provide strong evidence of who have really signed or protect the doc from further changes. It may be that they’re cut and pasted from a different document.
Number 2. Basic electronic signature – in this type of e-signature, it needs the signer to apply their hand signature mark on document and then, it would be protected with cryptographic digital signature. With the availability of basic e-signature, this will generate crypto digital signature that utilizes server held signing key. It is for the same reason why this is also called as “Witness” digital signature.
Number 3. Qualified and advanced e-signatures – AES and QES or Advanced Electronic Signature and Qualified Electronic Signature respectively do provide high level of assurance as well as trust since these are truly one of a kind signing keys for every signer. This is linking directly to the user’s identity to signed document in a way that anyone will be able to verify it on their own by making use of industry standard PDF reader. Take note as well that these are also called as digital signatures than e-signatures.
Not just that, the signer has the only control of their private signing key which guarantees non-repudiation even if the service provider is not responsible for the creation of signature. Remote signing has tons of benefits including the ability of signing from any machine without using specialist devices similar to hardware tokens, readers and smartcards.
Actually, QES are more of a trusted version of AES since it requires higher level of security in protecting the signing key of user and formal registration process at the same time to verify their identity through qualified Certificate Authority.