What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is a digital method applied to a formatted document to ensure the integrity and authentication of the author. What is the purpose of this system?

An electronic signature, what is it?

Unlike a handwritten signature on a paper document, an electronic signature is attached to a document in digital format. This requires the use of appropriate software using a specific cryptographic technique. This signature has the same legal value, status and legal effect as a handwritten signature. This, therefore, commits you to the duly signed document. Its value is admitted in a lawsuit in case of litigation or dispute. The files that can be signed electronically are Word, PDF, XML or jpeg files.

The advantages of using an electronic signature

The electronic signature is a guarantee of the authenticity and legal value of the document to which it is affixed. Unlike a handwritten signature, it offers greater security. A digital document with an electronic signature cannot be falsified under any circumstances. Each signature is protected by a tamper-proof seal. In addition to the seal, an external timestamp, based on world time, is applied and integrated on the document. The timestamp shows the exact time of the signature on the document. Another advantage of using an electronic signature is the dematerialization, which reduces costs and saves a considerable amount of time. Of course, it saves you certain costs such as printing or also the routing of the document. The main advantage of using an electronic signature is undoubtedly the fact that it allows the verification of the signatory or signatories. This signature is considered a digital passport identical to an identity card. A certification entity verifies all your information before issuing your digital certificate.

The electronic signature in practice

The electronic signature is in no way similar to a handwritten signature, i.e. it is not identical to the visual appearance of the latter. It is a kind of code in the form of a sequence of numbers associated with a document, in the appropriate format mentioned above, and the signatories. Software has been created specifically to authenticate electronic signatures upon opening the document(s) to which they have been affixed. In summary, the use of electronic signatures is the revolution to be adopted in the digital age.

What is the value of an electronic signature in France?
What documents can I sign electronically in France?