BizTerm Definition
electronic signature
Full Definition

A paperless method of entering into an electronic contract. To "sign" a contract electronically, a person may be asked to type his or her name into a box, paste a scanned version of his or her signature into a box, click an "I Accept" button, or use a "key" to encrypt (scramble) information that uniquely identifies the signer using a method called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). According to the Electronic Signatures in Global and International Commerce Act -- effective as of October 1, 2000 -- electronic signatures are as binding as those in ink. The term "digital signature" has also been used for the methods mentioned above. However, it's becoming standard to reserve the term "digital signature" for only cryptographic signature methods such as PKI and to use "electronic signature" for any of the paperless signature methods.

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