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What is the difference between digital and electronic signature: let’s be clear

Types of signature: digital and electronic

There is some confusion in the use of the terms digital signature and electronic signature. The two types of signature are not interchangeable. In fact, these are two different ways (and with different probative value) of signing a digital document.

What is the digital signature?

The digital signature is a specific type of qualified electronic signature. It is the result of an IT procedure which, through cryptographic keys, indissolubly associates a binary number (the signature) with an IT document (legal documents or data) giving it full-fledged legal validity. The documents can be public and private declarations, as well as administrative acts, signing of contracts and declarations of various kinds.

How does the digital signature work?

Each holder has a pair of keys, one private and one public (which are nothing more than two binary numbers of equal length). The private key is used by the subscriber to encrypt the electronic document to be signed and the public key is used by the recipient to decrypt the message received.

The advantages of the digital signature

Just to name a few, the digital signature:

– automates and speeds up document transmission

– reduces paper waste to zero

– avoids queues and exhausting waiting times

– guarantees both the authenticity of the subscriber and the integrity and inalterability of the document

– allows you to do without stamps and seals

– can be affixed to documents of various kinds

What is the electronic signature?

The electronic signature is “the set of data in electronic form, attached or connected by logical association to other electronic data, used as a method of computer identification” (definition of the European regulation 910/2014 Eidas). They range from the PIN of magnetic cards (such as ATMs) to web access credentials, such as username and password.

The “simple” electronic signature is in fact a subscription in principle, in which the technical characteristics and level of security are not defined. In this case, the probative value of the signed electronic document will be determined by a judge, taking into account its characteristics of quality, safety and immutability.

Electronic signature: examples and use cases

As developers of management software for companies, from event management to vehicle fleet management softwares, the electronic signature is mostly required for the guest accreditation phases at dynamic events, such as test drives. The request is often related to the signature of documents of discharge of responsibility (or indemnity), typical of cases in which a subject undertakes to consider another subject harmless from responsibilities deriving from the performance of a specific activity. Other contexts in which it is required to provide a signature service are car and equipment rental contracts, sports activities, contracts for work or school trips and events involving liability towards minors.

As an example, let’s start from the accreditation phase to a test drive. First of all, the guest data, such as e-mail and mobile number, are updated,. Through our Jolie app, it is possible to open a personalized disclaimer form in PDF format with a signature button at the end of the document. The user has the option to choose to receive the OTP via e-mail or text message. Once the received OTP has been entered, the document is signed and has full-fledged legal value.

How does the OTP system work?

The OTP system consists in sending an SMS or e-mail to the phone number or e-mail address associated with the guest. The text sent is a 6-digit numeric code that must be used as a temporary password to validate the operation. The password is single-use (the acronym OTP stands for One Time Password) so a new code is generated and sent for each operation.

Jolie and the electronic signature

Jolie, our event management software, uses the European signature provider Yousign, but it can interface with other providers owned by the customer, if necessary. In Yousign, the simple electronic signature disposes of 2-factor authentication, by sending a temporary access PIN that uses the user’s mobile device as authentication confirmation. This method therefore guarantees greater security in signing documents.

What about you?

If you are involved in the event business and want to know more about the electronic signature service, contact us without obligation! We will do what we can to help you.

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