Principle on the appearance of a good signature

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There is a lot of information available on the technical and legal requirements of qualified signatures, which by law are functional equivalents of handwritten signatures.

However, it is often forgotten that an essential requirement of electronic signatures is the proof of consent and the possibility for the parties to have proof of the signed document.

Considering that most of the time those who sign electronically do not necessarily have to be particularly versed in the technical and legal aspects of this type of signature, it is essential that the principle of “appearance of good signature” be preserved by complementing the provision of consent and the signatory’s possession of the signed document.

This means that the signing process or the result must be accompanied by certain formal aspects of appearance, leading to an intuitive interpretation that the signature is correct.

It is true that sometimes fraudulent systems emphasize appearance even if the technical support is questionable (even lacking encryption technology). However, such appearance is required for systems deployed with technical and legal guarantees, which must meet 3 objectives:

1.To look like a valid signature to a non-expert.

2. To be technically built in compliance with the applicable technical standards.

3. Comply with the requirements of the regulations for the corresponding management.

It must be taken into account that certain procedures may require a simple signature, others an advanced signature without certificate, others an advanced signature with certificate, others an advanced signature with qualified certificate, and others an advanced signature with qualified certificate and qualified signature creation device (the latter is the case of qualified signatures).

The “appearance of a good signature” is related (although in different contexts) to the “appearance of a good right” from the Latin fumus bonis iuris, which literally translated means “smoke of a good right”, and which is sometimes used when applying to a court for injunctive relief to mitigate burdensome resolutions while the litigation against them is being processed.

EADTrust audits in its certified signature model, checks the way in which the principle of the appearance of a good signature is respected.

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