The Global Opportunity for E-Signatures

We are a world of modernity, progression, and innovation. We advance in academics, work strategies, and innovation for the digital and technical world. Using the evolution of the iPhone 2 to the iPhone 7 Plus as a representative example, as people we continue to perfect details and modernize our automated world that emphasizes sleekness, ease-of-use, efficiency, and functionality. Now that we’ve entered the year of 2017, a consistent flow of inventive concepts and ideas to promote our cyber universe seem to always be up in the air for consideration.

An implementation that is fairly new but is continuing to gain traction as a powerful tool for the digital world is the e-signature which is defined by Reggie Davis as “a variety of methods used for electronically signing a document or otherwise providing consent.” Davis notes its advancements in the San Francisco Examiner, commenting on the usefulness of the e-signature through the tracking of it’s development as a central cyber platform by going through its development in mainly the United States of America and the European Union, as well as additional selective countries.

USA

The e-signature collected increasing recognition after the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA); this allowed public and private sectors to use both digital and electronic signatures. Following this was the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act of 2000 that granted legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use virtual documents and to sign them electronically within the United States.

States that haven’t adopted UETA is New York and Washington but electronic signatures do maintain the same legal validity as handwritten signatures in the court of law in New York; Washington enacted the Washington Electronic Authentication Act to facilitate e-commerce and minimize fraud, as well as to ensure the security and integrity of “e-messages” as is explained in the U.S. Guide to Electronic Signatures. Having an established legal backing has given electronic signatures the push it needed to make a sticking imprint on today’s digital world that opens opportunities for it to extend past just the US.

European Union

For Europe, the benefits of e-signature is defined under the eIDAS Regulation (EU) No 912/2014 which was put into action on July 1, 2016. It basically established an EU-wide structure for e-signatures as well as a range of other different defined electronic security services. The goal of the eIDAS Regulation was to permit secure digital transactions throughout EU borders for a range of parties: citizens, businesses, and public sector institutions. The flexibility of this regulation set up the framework for the e-signature’s proliferation throughout and has therefore caught the eye of surrounding countries.

Other Countries

Other countries have begun to adopt digital and electronic signature laws to implement into their official jurisdiction, just to different extents. These countries that permit electronic signatures, although in different extents based on their laws, are Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the EU (already covered), Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the US (already covered), and Uruguay. They all accept and utilize forms of electronic signatures in different levels.

The Global Mission

For top-rated e-signature programs, such as SignNow by Barracuda Networks, the mission to expand, expand, expand. SignNow’s vision at the global level is to eventually “be the Secure Agreement Platform that our customers can leverage globally. Our investments in eIDAS compliance, CFR Part 11, PCI DSS 3.2, Payment Solutions, and especially protecting global customers from malware, ransomware, typosquatting, and spear-phishing are all included in SignNow’s Advanced Threat Protection strategy” (Ken Grohe, SVP & GM of SignNow).

Like SignNow, the desire for other e-signature companies to spread and give digital security to more and more customers internationally is a key in their motivation.  With every additional country accepting digital signatures with the same validity as wet ones, this world-wide acceptance is an economic win for all competitors in the field.

Extending past the USA and the EU, there are opportunities for e-signatures to develop simultaneously with other technologies develop. With legal backing behind e-signatures, different companies are setting their eyes on the global goal. These e-signature solutions are fine-tuning while the landscape for their potential use is widening internationally – invariably stretching out more possibilities in a rapidly evolving digital world.