Digital signature laws in the United States are governed by a combination of federal and state laws. In this article, we will provide an overview of the laws governing digital signatures in the US.
In the US, the use of digital signatures is governed by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) of 2000. The ESIGN Act provides legal recognition for electronic signatures and electronic records in interstate and foreign commerce. It requires that electronic signature be given the same legal effect as traditional signatures on paper documents. The ESIGN Act applies to all transactions that are subject to federal law, including those involving consumer and commercial transactions.
In addition to federal law, digital signature laws also vary by state. Most states have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which provides a legal framework for electronic signatures and electronic records at the state level. The UETA is based on the ESIGN Act and provides similar legal recognition for electronic signatures and records. However, some states have their own unique digital signature laws, which may differ from the UETA or ESIGN Act.
In order for a digital signature to be legally binding, it must meet certain requirements. Under the ESIGN Act and UETA, a digital signature must be:
Unique to the signer.
Capable of verification.
Under the sole control of the signer.
Linked to the signed document in a way that any subsequent changes to the document can be detected.
Additionally, the signer must also have the intent to sign the document electronically.
Digital signature laws in the US are enforced by both federal and state courts. In the event of a dispute, courts will consider the validity of the digital signature and the intent of the parties involved. Courts may also consider other factors, such as the level of security used to create and store the digital signature, to determine whether the signature is legally binding.
Digital signature laws in the US provide a legal framework for the use of eSignature and records in commerce. The ESIGN Act and UETA provide legal recognition for digital signatures at the federal and state levels, respectively. In order for a digital signature to be legally binding, it must meet certain requirements and be created with the intent to sign the document electronically. Courts will consider the validity of the digital signature and other factors to determine whether the signature is legally binding.