Where is E-Signatures Started?
In the United States, electronic signatures are covered under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) law. Passed by the US Congress in 1999 and 2000, respectively, these two laws serve as the framework for electronic commerce implementation in the United States, as most state-level E-commerce laws are identical to UETA or a slightly altered version. These laws specify exactly what constitutes a valid electronic signature, as well as the conditions under which it is legally binding.
An electronic signature is a “sound, symbol, or process, logically associated with a document” such that it is:
1. Unique to each user
2. Under the sole control of the signer
3. Linked to a document in such a way as to prevent tampering, and
4. Capable of being authenticated
Are E-Signatures Legally Binding In Singapore?
Since 2010, e-signatures have been legally recognised in Singapore under the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA). In particular, Section 8 of this Act states that where a rule of law needs a signature, that need for a signature can be satisfied by an e-signature if:
- A method is used to identify the person and to indicate that person’s intention in respect of the information contained in the electronic record; and
- The method used is as reliable as appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic record was generated or communicated, in the light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement; or
- The method is proven in fact to have fulfilled the functions described above, by itself or together with further evidence.