Why do we still keep paper records?
This is a question that begs to be asked. Whilst various reasons are still given, few remain justified. One such reason is the signature. And the reason it no longer holds up is the recent improvements to the quality of the wet digital signature.
What is a signature anyway?
The concept of a signature is simple. It’s when a person writes their name (often in a stylised way) on documents as a proof of identity and intent. Whilst not perfect, it is a part of the cultural lexicon, accepted worldwide. Combined with the use of witness signatures, this method has remained the trusted legal method for centuries.
Old habits die hard.
Even now in the digital age, the most common method to record a signature is to print out the (usually digitally authored) document and sign. Then it is either stored in some file to be rarely (if ever) seen again or ironically, scanned back into digital format as a degraded computer copy. To be fair, until recently there were good reasons to keep with this method.
The wet digital signature
A wet digital signature is a signature you obtain by actually writing a signature on a digital screen with a pen, stylus, or finger. The computer records the writing and displays it as a picture of the signature.
Although the wet digital signature has been around for a while, the quality has been really poor. As anyone who has signed one of those courier delivery PDA will tell you, as proof of authenticity they are not worth the glass they are written on.