Legislation passed in the U.S., Canada, U.K., E.U., Australia, New Zealand, and most nations around the world establishes the legality of e-signatures. Documents signed online with legally compliant e-signature software are as valid and binding as traditional pen-and-paper documents.
E-signatures have been upheld in numerous court cases and, in many situations, prove to be more defensible than pen signatures. This legal strength is due to the robust authentication data captured by online signature software, which provides digital evidence of who signed a document, as well as when, where, and how they did it.
RightSignature, the e-signature solution popular with both small businesses and large enterprises, secures each executed document with an array of valuable authentication information, including each signer’s email address, IP address, timestamped audit logs, and biometric signature data.
The major e-signature laws include:
Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN ACT) – U.S.
The E-SIGN Act, passed by Congress in June, 2000, is the premier federal law ensuring the legality of documents executed with e-signatures in the United States. The E-SIGN Act states that contracts with electronic signatures may not be denied legal effect or ruled unenforceable because they were created digitally.
Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) – U.S.
The National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws developed the UETA in order to bring consistency to potentially varying state laws regarding e-signatures and online document execution. Now adopted by 48 states thus far, the UETA works in unison with the federal E-SIGN Act to protect the legal enforceability of electronic contracts.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) – Canada
Canada’s PIPEDA specifies how businesses must handle consumer data to ensure privacy and security. The PIPEDA law is designed to clarify the legality and create the framework for efficient e-commerce, including e-signatures, and in the process increase consumers’ trust in doing business electronically with Canada’s private sector.
European Directive 1999/93/EC – European Union
The European Directive is the primary, wide-scale electronic signature law to provide legal guidance in the European Union. All EU member nations were mandated to comply with the Directive by July, 2001. The Directive includes clarifications and protections for businesses and consumers that conduct business online with digital documents and esignatures.
Electronic Communications Act 2000 – United Kingdom
Similar in structure and content to the EU Directive, the U.K.’s Electronic Communications Act promotes the legal validity of esignatures and provides guidance on data storage, encryption services, and electronic communications for residents of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Electronic Transactions Act 1999 – Australia
Australia’s Electronic Transactions Act defines a regulatory framework for electronic transactions and states that no transaction will be invalidated because it was completed electronically.
Wikipedia: Laws Regarding Use of Electronic Signatures