Have you ever signed your name with a mouse?
I can’t speak for everybody in my generation but I was taught cursive in 3rd grade and by 7th grade all the teachers required assignments to be in print and papers to be typed up. The only thing I use cursive for any more is signing my name. Even the signature, when you think about it, is pretty laughable. Why do I have to sign receipts or consoles at cash registers after using my credit card? Nobody checks the signature and I could pretty much sign anything. When we start talking about things we can’t do online because a signature would be required, it all seems a bit absurd for pen & paper signatures to be what holds everything up from innovating to the next point. That’s why I say, it’s time to accept electronic signatures and go paperless.
The funny thing is, I don’t have to call for companies to be allowed to accept electronic signatures, the U.S. federal law Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act already does that. We, as consumers, need to call for businesses and organizations to work toward incorporating electronic signatures into their workflows so that we can do more over the Internet and have faster access to data while having the same guarantee that a paper contract provides.
An electronic signature provides a signing method, data authentication, user authentication, and signer’s intent. In those ways, it is actually better than a signature on a piece of paper. You may have already used electronic signatures for various applications. Sometimes you will have to type your name as your signature and the technology behind it captures your IP address with a timestamp to complete the signature.
We are coming up on the 12th anniversary of the ESIGN Act (June 30, 2000) and we’re seeing growing adoption. Let’s demand more options as consumers and push more as companies/developers. We should be able to esign anything and everything.