Date Added: Jul 2009
The basic question faced in the process of migration of paper signatures to electronic form is the identification of the authenticity of the signer. This paper seeks to find out the answer to this question. The answer is sometimes dependant on the business practices performed by the entity. This is an important question as the lack of proper identification of authenticity may cause contractual liabilities later on. The paper starts off with the review of current authentication practices employed for the basic pen and ink signature. This part of the paper seeks to answer questions like the type of authentication process used. It also determines whether the entity uses third party verification. It also delves into the history of challenges to the existing contracts. The next step is the determination of the Authentication Mode. There are two modes of authentication, "Prior Authentication" Mode and "Post Authentication" mode. These modes are best suited for different circumstances. Prior Authentication process is the method where a signer is authenticated before the signing of the contract. This is generally used in the contracts involving transfer of the funds. It generally leads to confusion in the users. Post Authentication method is the most commonly used method. The paper then discusses the procedure of transferring physical authentication to the electronic mode.