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The Case for Stronger E-Signatures: Securing Identity and Intent

Despite the growing popularity of e-signatures, businesses face unique challenges with their implementation. Legal concerns persist regarding their validity and admissibility as evidence in court.

The Cracks in the Click 

When it comes to electronically signed documents, most e-signature platforms heavily rely on audit trails to ensure that documents are not tampered with and maintain their integrity.

These digital trails not only provide information on when and where the document was signed, but they also capture details of the signer's identity (generally, the email and IP address) and the changes made to the document.

Though this information is enough to authenticate most transactions on paper, things get tricky when disputes arise, and regulatory compliance enters the picture.

During disputes, the signer's identity and intent to sign are called into question, and the audit trail alone is not enough to prove that the signer intended to sign the document or that the signer is indeed who they claim to be.

Let's dig DEEPER into this...

Unlike traditional wet signatures, e-signatures lack physical evidence of the signing process. There are no stroke patterns to explore and no ink to analyze.

Meaning, there's no way to prove the signer's intent or mental state at the time of signing, which can be critical evidence in certain legal situations.

And since the person can sign from anywhere, there's also no way to verify their identity with certainty. (Who really signed your contract? Was it your client or someone else?)

Though modern e-signature platforms employ various methods like email addresses, passwords, codes, and other knowledge-based authentication to verify the identity of each signer, they are not foolproof.

Challenges may (and will) arise if the authentication process is compromised or contested.

That aside, the complex e-signature landscape, with its intricate laws and regulations, is not winning any arguments for the adoption of e-signatures either.

Each country has its own set of rules, and given the relatively new status of e-signatures, there is less established legal precedent and case law regarding their use, leading to uncertainty and doubt.

In fact, the legal validity of e-signatures came under scrutiny in two recent cases:

A leading finance provider in South Africa sued a customer to repossess a BMW X5 financed for him and claimed breach of contract.

But the customer disputed having signed the electronic contract and claimed his deceased brother-in-law used his information fraudulently, without his consent.

He is said to have "further contended that there was no compliance with section 13 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act."

When investigating this case, the court found that an OTP was generated during the electronic signing process. However, the customer claimed it was a company phone to which his brother-in-law also had access.

In the end, the court couldn’t verify the identity of the signer and had to use a recording of the customer’s telephone conversation with the call center as primary evidence.

An established P&C insurer and a claimant went to court in a dispute over reduced coverage.

The insured had electronically signed a form opting for a $250,000 limited PIP policy instead of an unlimited one. After exceeding the policy limit due to medical bills, the insured's additional claim was denied by the insurer due to reduced coverage.

The appeal then followed.

The court found that an "electronically typed name on a document doesn't by itself establish that the individual electronically signed the document in accordance with UETA."

Instead, stronger proof to verify the policyholder’s intent to sign and the signer’s identity was demanded by the court.

So, the insurer was asked to produce the underwriter on its witness list and additional evidence regarding the payments to decide the case.

The legal battles surrounding e-signatures in these cases serve as a powerful cautionary tale.

Using simple e-signatures for documents requiring strong legal validity could have weak evidentiary value.

The current landscape demands a more advanced e-signature solution that goes beyond mere clicks and keystrokes.

We need a system that captures not just a digital signature but verifiable proof of the signer's identity and clear intent to sign.

This is where SelfieSign's video-based e-signature solution comes in.

SelfieSign - Verify Identity & Ensure Intent

SelfieSign is an innovative e-signature solution that goes beyond basic digital ink.

By capturing the signer’s image, video, voice, and electronic signature during the signing process, SelfieSign offers four times the security of traditional e-signatures, effectively reducing fraud and disputes.

You also get video recordings of each signer in every electronic document signed on top of audit trails to guarantee the validity and authenticity of every signature.

SelfieSign's patented SVS (Selfie Video Signature) file is, hence, embedded with the video recording, electronic signature, location, timestamp, and hash code, ensuring non-repudiation and immutability of the document signed.

This combined evidence makes SelfieSign a powerful tool for any business operating internationally.

Moreover, the .SVS file is compiled in an XAdES format according to the latest industry standards, making it compliant with elDAS + GDPR and suitable for advanced electronic signatures.

So, don't wait for disaster to strike because one disputed signature could cost you everything. Take control today.

Claim your FREE trial of SelfieSign and experience the future of secure e-signatures.

Our cutting-edge technology safeguards your documents and transactions, giving you complete peace of mind.


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