The UK’s Electronic Communications Act and Electronic Signatures Regulation

With the rise of eCommerce, the ability to digitally acknowledge information in the form of an electronic signature quickly became a necessity in the late 90s and early 2000s.

eCommerce and eSignatures in the UK are regulated by the UK Electronic Communications Act and Electronic Signatures Regulation of 2002. In fact, almost every country now has legislation in place to monitor the use and regulate the encryption services vital to making eSignatures possible, secure, and authentic.

eSignatures are here to stay, in law and in the workplace.

What Is the UK Electronic Communications Act and Electronic Signatures Regulation?

The UK Electronic Communications Act was enacted in 2000 by the United Kingdom Parliament. The act came into legislation in order to help monitor and regulate emerging eCommerce trends in encryption, encryption services, and electronic signatures.

The act was formed to regulate cryptographic services offered in the United Kingdom, and enforce the validity of electronic signatures.

The UK Electronic Communications Act is divided into 3 parts and provides regulations and protection in the following areas.

  • Part I: Cryptography Service Providers
  • Part II: Facilitation of eCommerce and data storage (which is inclusive of eSignatures)
  • Part III: Miscellaneous and Supplemental items

Related Laws

Laws such as the UK Electronic Communications Act of 2000 and the Electronic Signatures Regulation of 2002 help encourage and promote healthy eCommerce activity for businesses while keeping consumers safe through increased security and validity of these types of digital transactions.

The European Union (EU) established the basic framework for most of these laws with the Directive 1999/93/EC in 1999, and a multitude of countries have since, or are, implementing similar laws as well to put rules and regulations in place regarding the use and legality of eSignatures.

In the United States, eCommerce encryption services and eSignatures are regulated by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act known as E-SIGN. This legislation defines what an eSignature is, and puts parameters in place for how it can be used as a legally binding acknowledgement in commerce and digital document processing.

Benefits of Implementing eSignatures in the Workplace

An eSignature is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature, which can be used electronically to give approval or demonstrate receipt or acknowledgement of digital information.

eSignatures have various forms including:

  • Typewritten signature
  • Scanned copy of handwritten signature
  • Electronic representation of a handwritten signature
  • Personal characteristics represented digitally (such as a fingerprint or retina scan)
  • Cryptographic signature
  • Unique characters

There are 3 main groups or categories of eSignatures.

  • Simple electronic signatures: These eSignatures include signatures that are scanned and check boxes that can be clicked to show acknowledgement.
  • Advanced electronic signatures: This type of eSignature is unique to the individual, and contains identifying characteristics about them. They are attached to documents so that no alterations or changes can be made to the electronic document.
  • Qualified electronic signatures: These more advanced eSignatures are accompanied by a certificate which is created by an encryption service.

eSignatures in the Workplace

Implementing eSignatures in the workplace can be very beneficial to saving time, and streamlining your projects that need to be sign off, as well as handling all your documents requiring signatures with more ease and less paper.

Additionally, eSignatures help to establish and ensure trust in business activities that involve the sharing of sensitive or important information through electronic documents and channels. They can provide confidence and peace of mind that the information reached the intended recipient unaltered. They also serve as a means to show acknowledgment of receipt, or acceptance of the terms of an electronic agreement or contract.

eFileCabinet’s Integration with RightSignature

The authenticity, validity, and security of eSignatures are all highly dependent on the business policies and protective technology used to create and authenticate them. It’s important to use higher quality versions of eSignatures to best protect and preserve your digital information.

eFileCabinet is the industry leader in secure digital document storage and sharing, and they’ve integrated with RightSignature to offer secure and high-quality eSignatures as part of their electronic document security and storage suite of products and services.

By using a comprehensive electronic document solution such as eFileCabinet for your business needs, you can save the valuable time and money that go into paper, printing, and shipping costs. You can also keep all of your eSignature documents secure and stay complaint with the legislation governing the use of eSignatures in your country.

eFileCabinet offers cutting-edge security with SSL encryption that will help you keep important documents and eSignatures safely secured and stored.

If you’re interested in securely streamlining your business by reducing the amount of paper you use, expediting approvals, and easily executing electronic documents, then eFileCabinet has a variety of products to help you meet these goals. Take a free 15-minute demo today to see how your business can benefit and evolve with digital content management and eSignatures.

By | 2016-12-15T11:59:17+00:00 November 24th, 2015|
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