If you're beginning to read this post, it's because you have also wondered if the electronic signature, the digital signature and the digitized signature are the same. The confusion between these three terms arises because they are often used as synonyms, and in some articles they speak of the digital signature, when they are actually talking about the electronic signature, or the digitized, or vice versa.
The truth is that these three types of signatures are not the same, and in this post we explain how they differ.
This post is also available in Spanish.
Table of contents
- What is the electronic signature?
- What is the digital signature?
- What is the digitized signature?
Differences between the electronic signature, the digital signature and the digitized signature
What is the electronic signature?
The electronic signature is electronic data that accompany certain information (also in electronic format). At the same time, the electronic signature is a legal concept that is equivalent to the handwritten signature and has the objective of attesting the signer’s will.
According to the Regulation (EU) Nº 910/2014, which defines and regulates electronic signatures in the European Union, the electronic signature is “data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data that is used by the signatory to sign.”
Regulation (EU) Nº 910/2014, known as eIDAS, is the European regulatory framework that confers legal validity of electronic signatures.
The definition of the electronic signature contained in the Regulation is the most fundamental, and is the common basis of the three types of electronic signatures that exist:
- The electronic signature or the simple electronic signature
- The advanced electronic signature
- The qualified electronic signature
These three types of electronic signatures are different mainly for their different security levels, their ability to guarantee (or not), the integrity of the documents that are signed and their ability to identify (or not) the signer.
What is the digital signature?
The digital signature consists in applying cryptographic mechanisms to the content of a message or document with the aim to demonstrate to the message recipient that the sender of the message is real (authentication), that the latter cannot deny that he/she sent the message (non-rejection) and that the message has not been altered since its emission (integrity).
The digital signature is therefore a fundamental part of the advanced electronic signature and of the qualified electronic signature, but not of the simple electronic signature.
The digital signature is legal, but is not per se legal in nature, in the sense that its objective is NOT to give faith to an act of will from the signer, but only to encrypt document data to give it greater security.
What is the digitized signature?
The digitized signature is the conversion of the signature stroke into an image. To get your own digitized signature, you must do it on paper and scan it. Or you can also do so through some type of hardware, such as a signature pad, which allow you to save the image of your signature on your computer - in .jpg or .png format - and use it each time you need to.
The digitized signature is considered a simple electronic signature, meaning it is legal. However, it does not offer any guarantee regarding the signer's identity (which is a characteristic of the simple signatures).
In addition, digitized signatures can be very easily falsified. It is paradoxical that this type of signature is the one used by most people to sign, and thus to give their consent, in many documents and contracts.
It is not the same to sign a document on paper with pen, scan it and send it via mail than to use a specialized platform for creating electronic signatures.
Electronic signatures offer security and legal backing, and in the case of the advanced and qualified electronic signatures, in addition to uniquely identifying the signer, they guarantee the integrity of the information contained in the message or document.
More and more companies are aware of the importance of taking care of security and providing legal guarantees to all documents sent to sign by both their clients as well as their providers or employees. And that's why more and more companies are using electronic signature tools such as the one that we offer at Signaturit.
If you want to try it and learn how our electronic signature tool works, register here for your free trial and use all the features available during 14 days.
This post is also available in Spanish.