Posted 11th February 2020
Document authenticity and traceability
How many of us realise we are signing contracts online, when we do not truly understand what we are committing ourselves to. We can tick a box of acknowledgement and that will suffice, providing in doing so, a track of the transaction that can identify us.
While digital signatures are used to prevent tampering, audit trails can be used to confirm a document’s legitimacy. Audit trails are logs embedded in the documents that include information on who, how, when and where it was electronically signed, all of which are contained in your electronic identification.
Rather than go into a full breakdown of how we can be digitally identified, we need to be aware that by inputting our name or email address we are likely to be not just giving our consent but authorising a contract.
We are not saying that we are being tricked into giving consent, just that we should realise what we are doing is legally binding. After all, to be ignorant of the law is not a defence in a court of law.
The incessant need for full traceability is out of control in the modern world. A culture with a fear of reprisal is being generated in every aspect of our lives:
There are many other scenarios, along with apportioning blame, it is followed by a claim. We have a culture of not allowing people to learn by their mistakes, but to punish them for being human (as ‘to err is human’, Alexander Pope, “Essay on Criticism“) which is curtailing evolution. In a time of huge technological advances, the biggest barrier to change is the fear of making a mistake or being human!
Being openly clear and transparent takes a lot of hard-work and many man hours. The loss of productivity due to completing procedural paperwork is costly both in time and resources. Yet, with the use of electronic communications coupled with electronic signatures we can speed up the lengthy processing and it is completely traceable.
Quite often we hear that “the law is an ass”,
“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass – a idiot”. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1839)
Who the Dickens would have thought that the same can be true today?
Well here we are in the most modern of times with legislation and laws preventing us from any form of discrimination. Yet, how aware are we aware of the provisions made to ensure a wet signature is not the only acceptable form of legally signing documents?
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