Electronic Signature Basics

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What is an electronic signature? An electronic signature, also known as an e-signature or biometric signature, refers to a signature that is digitally signed using a keypad or computer keyboard, which is cryptographically related to other information in electronic format and that is used to authenticate the signer. The Firma digital  is different from the traditional signature, the fingerprint, where the user's finger prints are collected and stored in a database. The use of signatures is seen in many business transactions and legal matters, where one party requires another to produce a certain digital signature in order to grant consent, verify or authenticate the information, in a way that cannot be faked or copied.

There are many ways to secure digital signatures. The most popular way, and the way that are being used in most businesses, is the implementation of a hardware keypad or smartcard. The user types in a secret key which, with the help of encryption, is sent to a secured server, from where it is decrypted. The key then has the Firma electrónica SII that can be verified by other users and servers to ensure authenticity. Digital signatures make life easier for individuals, as it is possible to establish a password and use a digital signature for online transactions, while avoiding the use of passwords or security codes on file storage and other mechanisms. Digital signatures can be combined with smart cards, pads or any other mechanisms that provide digital signatures. 

In business processes such as accounting, records management, and human resource management, using an electronic signature in place of a handwritten signature can significantly reduce errors. In a typical business process, a handwritten signature can lead to human errors such as double-entry of information, misinterpretation of data, and even fraud. An electronic signature eliminates these potential problems because it is digitally signed, eliminating all errors. Moreover, since the signed document is stored and replicated, rather than printed, there is no risk of the original document being altered.

The cost savings of electronic signature are well known. The time taken to record a transaction and then verify the signature by hand is time consuming. Furthermore, there is a high likelihood of human error in verifying a signature. For example, when a customer provides a postdated check, the signature may be faked or duplicated, resulting in the check being returned to the bank.

Electronic signatures are safe and secure because they eliminate the need for a third-party to verify and authorization of a transaction. This removes a layer of human error, which can result in financial loss for companies and individuals. Electronic documents are signed by the person who issued the document, eliminating the need for a third party to oversee the signing process and provide authorization.

As electronic signatures become more commonplace throughout business practices, they will no doubt encounter resistance. Most notably, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the United States Electronic Signatures Act, H Safron Amendment, in May 2021. The Electronic Signatures Act bans federally authorized signatories from preventing the signature of certain electronic documents to avoid fraudulent transactions on federal financial services bills. It also requires the secretaries of state to determine whether signatures appear on such documents legally and to establish methods by which signatures can be verified. Currently, the United States Senate is considering a similar ban on electronic signatures as part of an overall spending bill.  You can check out this article to get more information on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_signature.

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