Signing documents online and on mobile devices has become a more common occurrence in recent years. The adoption of digital signatures has also become more common because of the security benefits they provide and the ease of use they offer. Digital signatures may seem like a new concept, but they’re already being used by government organizations, private companies, and citizens alike. This article aims to explain how digital signatures are used in the public sector and how cities, states, and municipalities are using this practice to streamline operations, improve services, and increase efficiency.
1. Document Sharing (e-signatures)
Document sharing is one of the primary ways that companies of all sizes use e-signature technology. Facilitating the rapid and secure transfer of documents makes working with vendors and partners easier than ever, even if they’re located in different states or countries. This allows for more efficient communication, but it also reduces the cost of maintaining a physical infrastructure (such as postage fees and storage fees).
For example, if you need an invoice approved by multiple people, you can instead send them an electronic version. This way, there’s no need to print out paper copies and wait for each person to sign their name on them before mailing back (thus delaying approval) or scanning/emailing them (which increases costs).
2. Voting and elections
There are many ways public sector organizations can leverage digital signatures to make the voting process more secure. Digital signatures can authenticate a voter’s identity and ensure that the voter is only voting once per election. When it comes time to count and record results, digital signatures enable officials to securely share data about votes cast with other trusted parties and create an auditable trail of all the transactions that have occurred. This can help prevent fraud and maintain accountability throughout the election process.
3. Identity verification
Identity verification is essential for many government services. To protect citizens and ensure the best possible outcomes for public sector projects, it’s crucial to verify people’s identities before providing them with any services or resources.
Digital signatures are a secure way to verify identity. In particular, digital signatures can be used for voter ID, voter registration, renewing a driver’s license, applying for food stamps, and signing up for other social services.
4. Verification of other forms
You can send any form to a customer or department head for e-signing with eSignLive. For example, if a police officer has pulled over a driver for speeding, the officer can use a mobile device to send the traffic ticket to the driver for review and signing. Furthermore, you can easily upload forms created in Microsoft Word or Excel and send them out for signing. Signers receive an email with a link directly to their form. After they sign it online, they receive another email confirming their signature and a copy of the signed document attached as a PDF file. Your records are kept in one central location: The cloud! This is more secure than paper and allows your team quick access to information previously kept in filing cabinets and on hard drives.
5. Online purchasing
Digital signatures are used all the time on eCommerce sites and other online purchasing platforms. The hardest part of buying anything online is trusting a company with your payment information. That’s why we take security so seriously.
If you’re going to buy something online, you need a way to verify your identity—and digital signature technology does just that. For example, when you make a purchase on an eCommerce site, the computer sending data about your order has to be trusted by the site for you to be able to log in and complete your transaction. If someone else tried to use someone else’s credentials, they wouldn’t be able to get access to those details without a valid digital signature from the original user (you). By verifying that users are who they say they are before allowing them access or making any purchases on their behalf, we increase security while keeping it easy for legitimate customers like yourself.
6. Collaborative working with internal stakeholders or third parties
Internal collaboration and stakeholder management are massive benefits when using digital signatures. With the ability to sign documents from any device or location, internal stakeholders can provide input on projects and sign off on important paperwork without having to print, scan, fax, or mail documents. The same can be said for third-party collaborations. For example, if you need a partner in another city to sign an agreement before proceeding with your project, you’re no longer limited by time zones or travel schedules. You won’t have to send a courier across the state (or country) overnight just to get a signature from another party that would be satisfied electronically.
7. Tax filing
Tax filing can be an anxious time of year. The last thing you want to worry about is whether your forms were lost in the mail. E-signatures are secure and legally binding so that you can file your taxes electronically. E-signatures are also a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional ink signatures.
8. Digital signatures are secure, traceable, and legally binding
Digital signatures are based on encryption technology, and it’s impossible to create a duplicate or fake them. Digital signatures are like fingerprints. No two digital signatures are alike, even though they may all be of the same document. They allow for auditing, which means that you can tell who signed a specific document, at what time and from where, as well as verifiably track where the document has been afterward.
The technology prevents tampering with documents after a digital signature has been applied. If someone tries to change the contents of the signed document in any way, the signature automatically becomes invalidated, and the recipient is notified immediately. This means that you can be confident knowing that your information is secure when using digital signatures. You can apply a digital signature to virtually any type of electronic file sent over email or online – including contracts, purchase orders, timesheets, reports, and more – so there’s no need to print documents out just to sign them before scanning them back into electronic format.
9. Digital signatures are compliant with international e-signature guidelines and laws
The goal of these laws is to ensure that the technology used for digital signatures is both safe and trusted. When you’re signing documents electronically, your information will be protected from fraud and corruption. In addition, digital signatures are compliant with many privacy laws, including HIPAA (healthcare), GDPR (Europe), and CCPA (California). Not only can you send documents safely, but they also won’t get into the wrong hands.
10. Digital signatures offer a superior user experience compared to traditional signing methods
Digital signatures are a great way to improve the user experience for citizens interacting with government agencies in several ways. First, digital signatures remove the need for printing and mailing hard copies of documents, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient. This enables faster transaction speed and contributes to the heightened security of online transactions. Digital signatures also boost convenience by allowing administrative tasks like form submission or online applications to be completed from anywhere at any time, increasing access to public services from remote areas or nontraditional work schedules.
Additionally, digital signatures are more cost-effective than traditional wet ink signing methods. Digitizing electronic documents saves on paper costs and postage fees, as does having fewer employees on staff who have to process incoming mail physically. Digital signature solutions also facilitate compliance with federal regulations related to record-keeping and accessibility since they integrate with eSignature laws established under ESIGN in 2000 and UETA in 1999. These statutes validate electronic signatures as legally binding agreements when certain criteria are met, including providing the signer with an opportunity to read the document prior to signing it as well as notifying them that they will be able to retain a copy of it afterwards. eSignatures offer additional accountability since every action taken by signers is logged — including the date/time stamp of each signature — allowing officials greater visibility into what was agreed upon and when compared to offline-signing processes that may leave room for ambiguity or fraud through altered contracts.
The public sector uses digital signatures to improve services, increase efficiency and protect sensitive data. Citizens are also benefiting from completing administrative tasks more efficiently, such as filing a complaint or accessing camera footage. Digital signatures are a great way to protect your identity and prove your identity as the real signer of a document. This article has provided an overview of how digital signatures are being used by governments and citizens alike. With the benefits of digital signatures, it’s no surprise that they are quickly becoming an essential part of daily life.