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Electronic Signature

What is a digital (or electronic) signature?

A digital signature, also known as an electronic signature, uses the technology of a digital certificate; it is a form of encrypted data that can be used to authenticate an individual and his document. A digital signature is part of a system called Public-key Infrastructure (PKI) and has a corresponding component called a digital certificate. Confidentiality, authentication, integrity, and nonrepudiation are the four important factors required for e-commerce transactions. Digital signatures cannot be forged because the signature is created with a sender's secret key and can be verified by a recipient using the sender's public key.

What is the difference between a digital signature and a digitized signature?

Digital signatures are special encrypted codes attached to an electronic message. The codes let the recipient know that the person sending the message really is who he claims to be. A digitized signature is a scanned image of a person’s handwritten signature, which is captured using special digitizing hardware and stored as a computer file.

Do other states have an obligation to accept my electronic signature on an instrument offered to be recorded?

Yes. Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, commonly known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, addresses the duties states have to respect and enforce the laws of other states. The full faith and credit clause means that states shall give “full faith and credit” to lawful acts performed in another state.

What is an electronic notary signature?

The electronic notary signature is a unique, independently verifiable image of the electronic notary’s handwritten signature that is retained under the electronic notary’s sole control and is attached or logically associated with the document, linking the data in such a manner that any subsequent alterations to the underlying document or electronic notary certificate are observable through visual examination.

Where can I purchase an electronic signature for my electronic notarizations?

All electronic notarization solutions including electronic signatures and seals may be obtained from an approved Electronic Notary Solution Provider. Providers are usually authorized by the state’s commissioning authority. An electronic notary public should contact the state’s commissioning authority to obtain a list of approved electronic notary solutions, if applicable.