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Digital Transformation: The Difference Between Electronic and Digital Signatures

By Dick Weisinger

Is there a difference between electronic and digital signatures?

Electronic Signatures, or ‘e-signatures’, are used to indicate that a document has been accepted. Various methods for verifying identity can be used, like email, passwords or PINs. E-signatures are usually issued as part of a secure process that produces a final document and audit trail.

Digital signatures use a certificate-based digital ID to authenticate the identity of the signer. The signature is bound to the document using encryption, and validation is done with trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) and Trust Service Providers (TSPs).

A digital signature by itself is not enough because it doesn’t capture the person’s intent to sign the document and to become legally found to the agreement. Digital signatures can guarantee the integrity of the document, but it is important that the document be managed as part of a process that includes auditing.

From Electronic and Digital Signatures in Adobe Sign White Paper; August 2018
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