Seals have been used in wax, clay, or some other medium, including embossment on paper for hundreds of years.
The original rubber stamp is said to have been created in 1866 by James Woodruff. Engineers have used the rubber stamp to authenticate drawings for several decades.
Digital signatures, aka cryptographic signatures, are considered the most “secure” type of electronic signature. They include a certificate of authority to ensure the validity of the signatory (the signature’s author and owner).
Since the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) went into effect in 2000, digital and electronic signatures have held the same legal standing as wet signatures. [Laserfiche]
APEGA endorses digital signatures and partnered with Notarius in 2011 to implement the Consigno system to authenticate documents using a digital signature that certifies identity, professional status, and organizational affiliation.
Lexus Engineering is using this system to Authenticate all Professional Work Products (PWPs), making our office more efficient and secure. This has streamlined our authentication process, saving time and bringing us one step closer to a paperless office.
The security aspect cannot be understated. Several years ago we caught a contractor abusing our seal. We had done one small job for him, and then he copied/pasted our seal for other projects without our knowledge. The only way we found out was because the City Of Edmonton (COE) Permitting department called us up one day asking about some details for a project. We looked into it, and discovered that project was not one of ours. It was clear that the contractor was forging our stamp on new projects. We immediately contacted the COE and told them that those documents had not been authenticated by us, and then we contacted the contractor and told him to Cease and Desist, or face the consequences. We never heard from him again.
To check if a document has been digitally signed, open the pdf file using Adobe Acrobat Reader. You will see the following note above the document:
“This file claims compliance with the PDF/A standard.”
Next, click on the “Signatures” icon in the left legend:
This will display all the info regarding the signature. You can also bring up the Certificate Viewer to get all the details of the certificate and the entire issuance chain. If it does not display, then the document is not signed digitally.
For more information, see Notarius Digital Signatures