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In today’s society, most documents used in day-to-day business can now be filled out and signed electronically. The Electronic Transactions (Queensland) Act 2001 (ETA) is the legislation that governs the permitted use of electronic signatures.
Although the ETA does not include a comprehensive definition of what constitutes an ‘electronic signature, this term usually encompasses images displaying the person’s signature, typed name, or some other form of identification. The courts have previously held that a name, either printed or signed, which appears at the bottom of an email is a valid signature for the purposes of a binding contract.
Section 14 of the ETA sets out three basic requirements for valid signature, being identification, reliability, and consent:
This kind of electronic signature specifically uses a cryptographic authentication technology which allows you to generally “track” when and who signed the document. However, although these digital signatures are more secure than handwritten, they can still be subject to fraud.
There are several documents that require more stringent consideration of the validity of the electronic signature compared to other documents. These include:-
With the increased uptake of digital devices in the modern world, we are set to see a big uptake in the use of digital devices to take electronic records such as signatures.
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