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electronic signatures, technical vs legal perspective  


I am doing a research project about the contradictions of 'electronic signature' definitions from a Law perspective, as a big problem in International Contracts. From a technical perspective we refer to cryptography(symmetric or asymmetric)and a hash function that generates a fingerprint and identifies the signatory (asymmetric cryptography).
From the law approach they usually refer to 'electronic signature', to the one that has legal value.
- For UNCITRAL(United Nations) and most countries, an 'electronic signature' are any data that identifies the signatory in relation to the data message(very open definition). So any graphic, symbol, scanned signature, or a signature generated by GPG or PGP would have legal value.
- In countries like Argentina, there is a difference between 'electronic signature' and 'digital signature'. Just the 'digital signature' has legal value, because of security considerations(like using PGP or GPG).

- In the European Union, the electronic signature has many variants. In 1999/93/CE they establish the 'Electronic advanced signature' as the one that has legal value. That definition has brought some confusions world wide, like in Mexico

For all these reasons, I believe Law perspective should be congruent to the technical perspective. I would appreciate any feedback and opinions about this.

Posted : 05/08/2011 11:41 pm